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Vol. III. 


umes, octavo. 

GENCES IN THE LATIN CHURCH. In three volumes, oc- 

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Third edition. (In prepara- 

THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY. One volume, octavo. (Out 
of print.) 

SUPERSTITION AND FORCE. Essays on The Wager of Law, 
The Wager of Battle, The Ordeal, Torture. Fourth edition, re- 
vised. In one volume, 12mo. 

STUDIES IN CHURCH HISTORY. The Else of the Temporal 
Power, Benefit of Clergy, Excommunication, The Early Church 
and slavery. Second edition. In one volume, 12mo. 

Press, Mystics and Illuminati, Endemoniadas, El Santo Nino de la 
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EXPULSION. In one volume, 12mo. 







Vol. III. 



All rights reserved 

NOV 9 1«lfl 

Copyright, 1887, by Harper & Brothers. 

First published elsewhere. Reprinted February, 1906. 

All rights reset ved. 

Xorrxmorj ^rcss. 
Berwick & Smith Co., Norwood. Mass., U.S.A. 


Chapter I. — The Spiritual Franciscans. 


Dissensions in the Franciscan Order from Elias to John of Parma . . 1 

Joachim of Flora. — His Reputation as a Prophet 10 

His Apocalyptic Speculations as to the Third Era 14 

Adopted by the Spiritual Franciscans 18 

The Everlasting Gospel. — Its Condemnation 20 

The Spirituals Compromised. — John of Parma Removed 23 

Persistence of the Joachites 25 

Increasing Strife over Poverty 27 

Bull Exiit qui seminat 30 

Persecution of Italian Spirituals 32 

The French Spirituals. — Jean Pierre Olivi 42 

Arnaldo de Vilanova 52 

Disputation before Clement V. — Decision of Council of Vienne . . . 57 

Renewed Persecution of the Spirituals 61 

Commencement of Rebellion. — Dissensions among Them 62 

Election of John XXII. — His Character 66 

He Enforces Obedience and Creates a Heresy 69 

Bloody Persecution of the Olivists 73 

They Form a New Church 79 

Their Fanaticism. — Naprous Boneta .81 

Suppression of the Sect. — Its Career in Aragon 84 

Jean de la Rochetaillade. — Remains of Joachitism 86 

Chapter II. — Guglielma and Dolcino. 

Incarnation of Holy Ghost in Guglielma 90 

The Guglielmites Form a New Church 94 

Prosecuted by tho Inquisition 98 



Fate of the Sectaries 100 

The Order of Apostles. — Spiritual Tendencies 103 

Gherardo Segarelli. — Burned in 1300 104 

Dolcino Assumes the Leadership 109 

His Open Revolt. — Suppressed after Four Crusades 113 

Continuance and Character of the Heresy 120 

Chapter III. — The Fraticelli. 

Question Raised as to the Poverty of Christ 129 

Reaction against the Holiness of Poverty 130 

Doctrine of the Poverty of Christ Declared a Heresy 134 

It Complicates the Quarrel with Louis of Bavaria 135 

Marsiglio of Padua and William of Ockham 139 

Gradual Estrangement of the Franciscans 142 

Louis Deposes John XXII. as a Heretic 145 

Michele da Cesena Revolts 147 

Utility of the Inquisition. — Submission of the Antipope . . . . 149 

Struggle in Germany. — The Franciscans Support Louis 153 

Louis gradually Gains Strength. — His Death 156 

Dissident Franciscans Known as Fraticelli 158 

Sympathy for them under Persecution 160 

Their Tenets 162 

Fraticelli in France and Spain 167 

Orthodox Ascetism. — Jesuats. — Observantines 171 

The Observantines Replace and Suppress the Fraticelli 174 

Chapter IV. — Political Heresy Utilized by the Church. 

Denial of Papal Claims Pronounced Heresy 181 

The Stedingers. — Tithes Enforced by Crusades 182 

Crusades to Support Italian Interests of Papacy 189 

Importance of Inquisition as a Political Agency 190 

Advantage of the Charge of Heresy 191 

Manfred of Naples. — The Colonnas. — Ferrara 193 

John XXII. and the Visconti 196 

Cola di Rienzo. — The Maffredi 203 

Use of Inquisition in the Great Schism 204 

Case of Thomas Connecte 208 

Girolamo Savonarola . . 209 

Chapter V. — Political Heresy Utilized by the State. 


Use of Inquisition by Secular Potentates 238 

The Templars. — Growth and Relations of the Order 238 

Causes of its Downfall. — Facilities Furnished by the Inquisition 249 

Papal Complicity Sought. — Use made of Inquisition . . . . 257 

Errors Charged against the Templars 263 

The Question of their Guilt 264 

Vacillation of Clement. — The Assembly of Tours 277 

Bargain between King and Pope. — Clement Joins the Prosecu- 
tion 281 

Prosecution throughout Europe. — Its Methods in France . . . 284 

The Papal Commission. — Its Proceedings 289 

Defence Prevented by Burning those who Retract 295 

Proceedings in England. — The Inquisition Necessary . . . . 298 

Action in Lorraine and Germany 301 

In Italy and the East 304 

In Spain and Majorca 310 

Torture in Preparation for the Council of Vienne 317 

Arbitrary Proceedings Required at the Council 319 

Disposition of Property and Persons of the Order 322 

Fate of de Molay 325 

Popular Sympathies 326 

Distribution of the Property of the Order 329 

Case of Doctor Jean Petit 334 

Case of Joan of Arc. — Condition of the French Monarchy . . . . 338 

Career of Joan up to her Capture 340 

The Inquisition Claims her. — Delivered to the Bishop of Beau- 

vais 357 

Her Trial 360 

Her Condemnation and Execution 372 

Her Imitators and her Rehabilitation 376 

Chapter VI. — Sorcery and Occult Arts. 

Satan and the Spirit World . 379 

Incubi and Succubi 383 

Human Ministers of Satan. — Sorcerers 385 

Penalties under the Roman Law 392 

Struggle between Pagan and Christian Theurgy 393 

Repression of Sorcery by the Early Church 395 



Magic Practices of the Barbarians 400 

Leniency of Barbarian Legislation 408 

Legislation of Church and State in Carlovingian Period 412 

Practical Toleration in Early Mediaeval Period 416 

Indifference of Secular Legislation 427 

The Inquisition Assumes Jurisdiction 434 

All Magic Becomes Heretical 435 

Astrology. — Pietro di Abano. — Cecco d'Ascoli 437 

Divination by Dreams 446 

Comminatory Church Services 447 

The Inquisition Stimulates Sorcery by Persecution 448 

Unfortunate Influence of John XXII 452 

Growth of Sorcery in the Fourteenth Century 454 

Increase in the Fifteenth Century 464 

Case of the Marechal de Rais 468 

Enrique de Villena 489 

Chapter VII. — Witchcraft. 

Its Origin in the Fifteenth Century 492 

The Sabbat. — Regarded 1 at first as a Diabolic Illusion 493 

Adopted by the Church as a Reality 497 

Its Ceremonies 500 

Power and Malignity of the Witch 501 

TLe Church Helpless to Counteract her Spells 506 

Belief Stimulated by Persecution 508 

Witches Lose Power when Arrested 509 

Secular and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction over Witchcraft 511 

Inquisitorial Process as Applied to Witchcraft 513 

Case of the Witches of the Canavese 518 

Case of the Vaudois of Arras 519 

Slow Development of the Witchcraft Craze 534 

Stimulated by the Inquisition and the Church . . 538 

Influence of the Malleus Maleficarum 543 

Opposition to the Inquisition. — France. — Cornelius Agrippa . . . 544 

Opposition of Venice. — The Witches of Brescia ....... 546 

Terrible Development in the Sixteenth Century 549 

Chapter VIII. — Intellect and Faith. 

Intellectual Aberrations not Dangerous 550 

Theological Tendencies and Development 551 


Roger Bacon 552 

Nominalism and Realism 555 

Rivalry between Philosophy and Theology 557 

Averrhoism 558 

Toleration in Italy in the Fifteenth Century 565 

Modified Averrhoism. — Pomponazio. — Nifo 574 

Raymond Lully 578 

Evolution of Dogma. — The Beatific Vision 590 

The Immaculate Conception 596 

Censorship of the Press 612 

Chapter IX. — Conclusion. 

Omissions of the Inquisition. — The Greek Heretics . . . . . . 616 

Qusestuari, or Pardoners 621 

Simony 624 

Demoralization of the Church 627 

Morals of the Laity 641 

Materials for the Improvement of Humanity 645 

The Reformation Inevitable 647 

Encouraging Advance of Humanity 649 

Appendix of Documents 651 

Index 665 






In a former chapter we considered the Mendicants as an active 
agency in the suppression of heresy. One of the Orders, how- 
ever, by no means restricted itself to this function, and we have 
now to examine the career of the Franciscans as the subjects of 
the spirit of persecuting uniformity which they did so much to 
render dominant. 

While the mission of both Orders was to redeem the Church 
from the depth of degradation into which it had sunk, the Domin- 
icans were more especially trained to take part in the active busi- 
ness of life. They therefore attracted the more restless and 
aggressive spirits ; they accommodated themselves to the world, 
like the Jesuits of later davs, and the worldliness which necessa- 
rily came with success awakened little antagonism within the 
organization. Power and luxury were welcomed and enjoyed. 
Even Thomas Aquinas, who, as we have seen, eloquently defend- 
ed, against William of Saint- Amour, the superlative holiness of 
absolute poverty, subsequently admitted that poverty should be 
proportioned to the object which an Order was fitted to at- 

* Th. Aquin. Sumin. Sec. Sec. Q. clxxxviii. art. 7. ad 1. 
III.— 1 



It was otherwise 'with the Franciscans. Though, as we have 
seen, the founders determined not to render the Order a simply 
contemplative one, the salvation of the individual through re- 
treat from the world and its temptations bore a much larger part 
in their motives than in those of Dominic and his followers.* 
Absolute poverty and self-abnegation were its primal principles, 
and it inevitably drew to itself the intellects which sought a ref- 
uge from the temptations of life in self-absorbing contemplation, 
in dreamy speculation, and in the renunciation of all that renders 
life attractive to average human nature. As the organization 
grew in wealth and power there were necessarily developed within 
its bosom antagonisms in two directions. On the one hand, it 
nourished a spirit of mysticism, which, though recognized in its 
favorite appellation of the Seraphic Order, sometimes found the 
trammels of orthodoxy oppressive. On the other, the men who 
continued to cherish the views of the founders as to the supreme 
obligation of absolute poverty could not reconcile their consciences 
to the accumulation of wealth and its display in splendor, and 
they rejected the ingenious devices which sought to accommo- 
date the possession of riches with the abnegation of all posses- 

In fact, the three vows, of poverty, obedience, and chastity, 
were all equally impossible of absolute observance. The first 
was irreconcilable with human necessities, the others with human 
passions. As for chastity, the whole history of the Church shows 
the impracticability of its enforcement. As for obedience, in the 

* Even the great Franciscan preacher, Berthold of Ratisbon (who died in 
1272) will concede only qualified merit to those who labor to save the souls of 
their fellow-creatures, and such labors can easily be carried to excess. The duty 
which a man owes to his own soul, in prayer and devotion, is of much greater 
moment. — Beati Fr. Bertholdi a Ratisbona Sermones (Monachii, 1882, p. 29). 
See also his comparison of the contemplative with the active life. The former 
is Rachael,the latter is Leah, and is most perilous when wholly devoted to good 
works (lb. pp. 44-5). 

So the great Spiritual Franciscan, Pierre Jean Olivi — "Est igitur totius ra- 
tionis summa, quod contemplatio est ex suo genere perfectior omni alia actione," 
though he admits that a lesser portion of time may allowably be devoted to the 
salvation of fellow-creatures. — Franz Ehrle, Archiv fur Litteratur- und Kirchen- 
geschichtc, 1887, p. 503. 


sense attached to it of absolute renunciation of the will, its in- 
compatibility with the conduct of human affairs was shown at an 
early period, when Friar Haymo of Feversham overthrew Gregory, 
the Provincial of Paris, and, not long afterwards, withstood the 
general Elias, and procured his deposition. As for poverty, we 
shall see to what inextricable complications it led, despite the 
efforts of successive popes, until the imperious will and resolute 
common-sense of John XXII. brought the Order from its seraphic 
heights down to the every-day necessities of human life — at the 
cost, it must be confessed, of a schism. The trouble was increased 
by the fact that St. Francis, foreseeing the efforts which would be 
made to evade the spirit of the Rule, had, in his Testament, strictly 
forbidden all alterations, glosses, and explanations, and had com- 
manded that these instructions should be read in all chapters 
of the Order. With the growth of the Franciscan legend, 
moreover, the Rule was held to be a special divine revelation, 
equal in authority to the gospel, and St. Francis was glorified until 
he became a being rather divine than human.* 

Even before the death of the founder, in 1226, a Franciscan is 
found in Paris openly teaching heresies — of what nature we are 
not told, but probably the mystic reveries of an overwrought 
brain. As yet there was no Inquisition, and, as he was not sub- 
ject to episcopal jurisdiction, he was brought before the papal 
legate, where he asserted many things contrary to the orthodox 
faith, and was imprisoned for life. This foreshadowed much that 
was to follow, though there is a long interval before we hear 
again of similar examples, f 

The more serious trouble concerning poverty was not long in 
developing itself. Next to St. Francis himself in the Order stood 
Elias. Before Francis went on his mission to convert the Soldan 
he had sent Elias as provincial beyond the sea, and on his return 
from the adventure he brought Elias home with him. At the 
first general chapter, held in 1221, Francis being too much en- 

* Thom. de Eccleston de Adventu Minorum Coll. v. — S. Francis. Testament. 
(Opp. 1849, p. 48). — Nicolai. PP. III. Bull. Exiitqui seminat (Lib. v. Sexto xii. 3). 
—Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolos. pp. 301, 303. 

tChron. Turonens. ann. 1326 (D. Bouquet, XVIII. 319). — Alberic. Trium 
Font. Chron. ann. 1228. 


feebled to preside, Elias acted as spokesman and Francis sat at 
his feet, pulling his gown when he wanted anything said. In 
1223 we hear of Caesarius, the German provincial, going to Italy 
" to the blessed Francis or the Friar Elias." When, through in- 
firmity or inability to maintain discipline, Francis retired from 
the generalate, Elias was vicar-general of the Order, to whom 
Francis submitted himself as humbly as the meanest brother, and 
on the death of the saint, in October, 1226, it was Elias who noti- 
fied the brethren throughout Europe of the event, and informed 
them of the Stigmata, which the humility of Francis had always 
concealed. Although in February, 1227, Giovanni Parent i of Flor- 
ence, was elected general, Elias seems practically to have retained 
control. Parties were rapidly forming themselves in the Order, 
and the lines between them were ever more sharply drawn. Elias 
was worldly and ambitious ; he had the reputation of being one 
of the ablest men of affairs in Italy ; he could foresee the power 
attaching to the command of the Order, and he had not much 
scruple as to the means of attaining it. He undertook the erec- 
tion of a magnificent church at Assisi to receive the bones of the 
humble Francis, and he was unsparing in his demands for money 
to aid in its construction. The very handling of money was an 
abomination in the eyes of all true brethren, yet all the prov- 
inces were called upon to contribute, and a marble coffer was 
placed in front of the building to receive the gifts of the pious. 
This was unendurable, and Friar Leo went to Perugia to consult 
with the blessed Gilio, who had been the third associate to join 
St. Francis, who said it was contrary to the precepts of the found- 
er. " Shall I break it, then ?" inquired Leo. " Yes," replied Gilio, 
k> if you are dead, but if you are alive, let it alone, for you will 
not be able to endure the persecution of Elias." Notwithstand- 
ing this warning, Leo went to Assisi, and with the assistance of 
some comrades broke the coffer ; Elias filled all Assisi with his 
wrath, and Leo took refuge in a hermitage.* 

* Frat. Jordani Chron. c. 9, 14, 17, 31, 50 (Analecta Franciscana, Quaracchi, 
1885, I. 4-6, 11, 16).— S. Francis. Testament. (Opp. p. 47); Ejusd. Epistt. vi., 
vii., viii. (lb. 10-11).— Auioni Legenda S. Francisci, p. 106 (Roma, 1880).— Wad- 
ding, ann. 1229, No. 2.— Chron. Glassberger ann. 1227 (Analect. Franciscana II 
p. 45). 


When the edifice was sufficiently advanced, a general chapter 
was held in 1230 to solemnize the translation of the saintly corpse. 
Elias sought to utilize the occasion for his own election to the 
generalate by summoning to it only those brethren on whose 
support he could reckon, but Giovanni got wind of this and made 
the summons general. Elias then caused the translation to be ef- 
fected before the brethren had assembled ; his faction endeavored 
to forestall the action of the chapter by carrying him from his 
cell, breaking open the doors, and placing him in the general's 
seat. Giovanni appeared, and after tumultuous proceedings his 
friends obtained the upper hand ; the disturbers were scattered 
among the provinces, and Elias retreated to a hermitage, where 
he allowed his hair and beard to grow, and through this show of 
sanctity obtained reconciliation to the Order. Finally, in the 
chapter of 1232, his ambition was rewarded. Giovanni was de- 
posed and he was elected general.* 

These turbulent intrigues were not the only evidence of the 
rapid degeneracy of the Order. Before Francis's Testament was 
five years old his commands against evasions of the Rule by cun- 
ning interpretations had been disregarded. The chapter of 1231 
had applied to Gregory IX. to know whether the Testament was 
binding upon them in this respect, and he replied in the negative, 
for Francis could not bind his successors. They also asked about 
the prohibition to hold money and property, and Gregory ingen- 
iously suggested that this could be effected through third par- 
ties, who could hold money and pay debts for them, arguing that 
such persons should not be regarded as their agents, but as the 
agents of those who gave the money or of those to whom it was 
to be paid. These elusory glosses of the Rule were not accepted 
without an energetic opposition which threatened a schism, and it 
is easy to imagine the bitterness with which the sincere members 
of the Order watched its rapid degeneracy ; nor was this bitterness 
diminished by the use which Elias made of his position. His car- 
nality and cruelty, we are told, convulsed the whole Order. His 
rule was arbitrary, and for seven years, in defiance of the regula- 
tions, he held no general chapter. He levied exactions on all the 

* Thomae de Eccleston Collat. xn.— Jordani Chron. c. 01 (Analecta Franc. L 
19).— Cbron. Anon. (lb. I. 289). 


provinces to complete the great structure at Assisi. Those who 
resisted him were relegated to distant places. Even while yet only 
vicar he had caused St. Anthony of Padua, who had come to As- 
sisi to worship at the tomb of Francis, to be scourged to the blood, 
when Anthony only expostulated with, " May the blessed God for- 
give you, brethren !" "Worse was the fate of Caesarius of Speier, 
who had been appointed Provincial of Germany in 1221 by St. 
Francis himself, and had built up the Order to the north of the 
Alps. He was the leader of the puritan malcontents, who were 
known as Caesarians, and he felt the full wrath of Elias. Thrown 
into prison, he lay there in chains for two years. At length the 
fetters were removed, and, early in 1239, his jailer having left the 
door of his cell open, he ventured forth to stretch his cramped 
limbs in the wintry sun. The jailer returned and thought that he 
was attempting to escape. Fearing the pitiless anger of Elias, he 
rushed after the prisoner and dealt him a mortal blow with a 
cudgel. Caesarius was the first, but by no means the last, martyr 
who shed his blood for the strict observance of a Eule breathing 
nothing but love and charity.* 

The cup at last was full to overflowing. In 1237 Elias had 
sent visitors to the different provinces whose conduct caused 
general exasperation. The brethren of Saxony appealed to him 
from their visitor, and, finding this fruitless, they carried their com- 
plaint to Gregory. The pope at length was roused to intervene. 
A general chapter was convened in 1239, when, after a stormy 
scene in presence of Gregory and nine cardinals, the pope finally 
announced to Elias that his resignation would be received. Pos- 
sibly in this there may have been political as well as ascetic mo- 
tives. Elias was a skilful negotiator, and was looked upon with a 
friendly eye by Frederic II., who forthwith declared that the dis- 

* Gregor. PP. IX. Bull. Quo ehngati (Pet. Rodulphii Hist. Seraph. Relig. Lib. n. 
fol. 164-5).— Rodulphii op. cit. Lib. n. fol. 177.— Chron. Glassberger, ann. 1230, 
1231 (Analecta II. 50, 56).— Frat. Jordan! Chron. c. 18, 19, 61 (Analecta I. 7, 8,' 
19).— Franz Ehrle (Archiv fur Litt.- u. Kirchengeschichte, 1886, p. 123).— Wad- 
ding, ann. 1239, No. 5. 

The ingenious casuistry with which the Conventuals satisfied themselves that 
the device of Gregory IX. enabled them to grow rich without transgressing the 
Rule is seen in their defence before Clement VI, in 1311, as printed by Franz 
Ehrle (Archiv fur Litt.- u. Kirchengeschichte, 1887, pp. 107-8). 


missal was done in his despite, for Elias was at the time engaged 
in an effort to heal the irremediable breach between the papacy 
and the empire. Certain it is that Elias at once took refuge with 
Frederic and became his intimate companion. Gregory made an 
effort to capture him by inviting him to a conference. Failing in 
this, a charge was brought against him of visiting poor women at 
Cortona without permission, and on refusing to obey a summons 
he was excommunicated.* 

Thus already in the Franciscan Order there were established 
two well-defined parties, which came to be known as the Spirituals 
and the Conventuals, the one adhering to the strict letter of the 
Rule, the other willing to find excuses for its relaxation in obedi- 
ence to the wants of human nature and the demands of worldli- 
ness. After the fall of Elias the former had the supremacy dur- 
ing the brief generalates of Alberto of Pisa, and Hay mo of Fever- 
sham. In 1244 the Conventuals triumphed in the election of Cres- 
cenzio Grizzi da Jesi, under whom occurred what the Spirituals 
reckoned as the " Third Tribulation," for, in accordance with their 
apocalyptic speculations, they were to undergo seven tribulations 
before the reign of the Holy Ghost should usher in the Millennium. 
Crescenzio followed in the footsteps of Elias. Under Hay mo, in 
1242, there had been an attempt to reconcile with the Rule Greg- 
ory's declaration of 1231. Four leading doctors of the Order, with 
Alexander Hales at their head, had issued the Declaratio Quatuor 
Magistrorum, but even their logical subtlety had failed. The Or- 
der was constantly growing, it was constantly acquiring property, 

* Jordani Chron. c. 62, 63 (Analecta I. 18-19).— Thomae de Eccleston Collat. 
xii. — Chron. Glassberger, aim. 1239 (Analecta II. 60-1). — Huillard-Brgholles, 
In trod. p. Din. ; lb. VI. 69-70. 

Elias still managed to excite disturbance in the Order; he died excommuni- 
cate, and a zealous Franciscan guardian had his remains dug up and cast upon 
a dunghill. Fra" Salimbene gives full details of his evil ways, and the tyran- 
nous maladministration which precipitated his downfall. After his secession to 
Frederic II. a popular rhyme was current throughout Italy — 

" Hor attorna fratt Helya, 
Ke pres' ha la mala via." 

Salimbene Chronica, Parma, 1857, pp. 401-13. 

Affd, however, asserts that he was absolved on his death-bed. — Vita del Beato 
Gioanni di Parma, Parma, 1777, p. 31. Cf. Chron. Glassberger ann. 1243^4. 


and its needs were constantly increasing. A bull of Gregory IX. 
in 1239, authorizing the Franciscans of Paris to acquire additional 
land with which to enlarge their monastery of Saint-Germain-des- 
Pres, is an example of what was going on all over Europe. In 
124:4:, at the chapter which elected Crescenzio, the Englishman, 
John Kethene, succeeded, against the opposition of nearly the 
whole body of the assembly, in obtaining the rejection of Greg- 
ory's definition, but the triumph of the Puritans was short-lived. 
Crescenzio sympathized with the laxer party, and applied to In- 
nocent IV. for relief. In 1245 the pope responded with a decla- 
ration in which he not only repeated the device of Gregory IX. 
by authorizing deposits of money with parties who were to be re- 
garded as the agents of donors and creditors, but ingeniously as- 
sumed that houses and lands, the ownership of which was forbid- 
den to the Order, should be regarded as belonging to the Holy 
See, which granted their use to the friars. Even papal authority 
could not render these transparent subterfuges satisfying to the 
consciences of the Spirituals, and the growing worldliness of the 
Order provoked continuous agitation. Crescenzio before taking 
the vows had been a jurist and physician, and there was further 
complaint that he encouraged the brethren in acquiring the vain 
and sterile science of Aristotle rather than in studying divine wis- 
dom. Under Simone da Assisi, Giacopo Manf redo, Matteo da Monte 
Eubiano, and Lucido, seventy-two earnest brethren, finding Cres- 
cenzio deaf to their remonstrances, prepared to appeal to Innocent. 
He anticipated them, and obtained from the pope in advance a 
decision under which he scattered the recalcitrants in couples 
throughout the provinces for punishment. Fortunately his reign 
was short. Tempted by the bishopric of Jesi, he resigned, and 
in 1248 was succeeded by Giovanni Borelli, better known as 
John of Parma, who at the time was professor of theology in 
the University of Paris.* 

* Thoinae de Ecclest. Collat. vin., xn.— Wadding, aun. 1242. No. 2; ann. 
1245, No. 16. — Potthast No. 10825.— Angeli Clarinens. Epist. Excusator (Franz 
Ehrle, Archiv fur Litt.- u. Kirchengeschichte, 1885, p. 535; 1886, pp. 113, 117, 
120).— Hist. Tribulation. (lb. 1886, pp. 256 sqq.). 

The Historia Tribulationum reflects the contempt of the Spirituals for human 
learning. Adam was led to disobedience by a thirst for knowledge, and returned 
to grace by faith and not by dialectics, or geometry or astrology. The evil in* 


The election of John of Parma marked a reaction in favor of 
strict observance. The new general was inspired with a holy 
zeal to realize the ideal of St. Francis. The exiled Spirituals were 
recalled and allowed to select their own domiciles. During the 
first three years John visited on foot the whole Order, sometimes 
with two, and sometimes with only one companion, in the most 
humble guise, so that he was unrecognized, and could remain in a 
convent for several days, observing its character, when he would 
reveal himself and reform its abuses. In the ardor of his zeal he 
spared the feelings of no one. A lector of the Mark of Ancona, 
returning home from Rome, described the excessive severity of a 
sermon preached by him, saying that the brethren of the Mark 
would never have allowed any one to say such things to them ; 
and when asked why the masters who were present had not in- 
terfered, he replied, " How could they ? It was a river of fire 
which flowed from his lips." He suspended the declaration of In- 
nocent TV. until the pontiff, better informed, could be consulted. 
It was, however, impossible for him to control the tendencies to 
relaxation of the Rule, which were ever growing stronger, and his 
efforts to that end only served to strengthen disaffection which 
finally grew to determined opposition. After consultation between 
some influential members of the Order it was resolved to bring 
before Alexander IY. formal accusations against him and the 
friends who surrounded him. The attitude of the Spirituals, in 
fact, fairly invited attack.* 

To understand the position of the Spirituals at this time, and 

dustry of the arts of Aristotle, and the seductive sweetness of Plato's eloquence 
are Egyptian plagues in the Church (lb. 264-5). It was an early tradition 
of the Order that Francis had predicted its ruin through overmuch learning 
(Amoni, Legenda S. Francisci, App. cap. xi.). 

Karl Miiller (Die Anfange des Minoritenordens, Freiburg, 1885, p. 180.) as- 
serts that the election of Crescenzio was a triumph of the Puritans, and that lie 
was known for his flaming zeal for the rigid observance of the Rule. So far from 
this being the case, on the very night of his election he scolded the zealots (Th. 
Eccleston Collat. xn.), and the history of his generalate confirms the view taken 
of him by the Hist. Tribulationum. Affo (Vita di Gioanni di Parma, pp. 31-2) as- 
sumes that he endeavored to follow a middle course, and ended by persecuting 
the irreconcilables. 

* Hist. Tribulat. (loc cit. 1886, pp. 267-8, 274).— Affo, pp. 38-9, 54, 97-8.— 
Wadding, ann. 1256, No. 2. 


subsequently, it is necessary to cast a glance at one of the most 
remarkable spiritual developments of the thirteenth century. Its 
opening years had witnessed the death of Joachim of Flora, a 
man who may be regarded as the founder of modern mysticism. 
Sprung from a rich and noble family, and trained for the life of a 
courtier under Roger the Xorman Duke of Apulia, a sudden de- 
sire to see the holy places took him, while yet a youth, to the 
East, with a retinue of servitors. A pestilence was raging when 
he reached Constantinople, which so impressed him with the mis- 
eries and vanities of life that he dismissed his suite and continued 
his voyage as an humble pilgrim with a single companion. His 
legend relates that he fell in the desert overcome with thirst, and 
had a vision of a man standing by a river of oil, and saying to 
him, " Drink of this stream," which he did to satiety, and when 
he awoke, although previously illiterate, he had a knowledge of 
all Scripture. The following Lent he passed in an old well on 
Mount Tabor ; in the night of the Resurrection a great splendor 
appeared to him, he was tilled with divine light to understand the 
concordance of the Old and Xew Laws, and every difficulty and 
every obscurity vanished. These tales, repeated until the seven- 
teenth century, show the profound and lasting impression which 
he left upon the minds of men.* 

Thenceforth his life was dedicated to the service of God. Re- 
turning home, he avoided his father's house, and commenced preach- 
ing to the people ; but this was not permissible to a layman, so he 
entered the priesthood and the severe Cistercian Order. Chosen 
Abbot of Corazzo, he fled, but was brought back and forced to as- 
sume the duties of the office, till he visited Rome, in 1181, and ob- 
tained from Lucius III. permission to lay it down. Even the severe 
Cistercian discipline did not satisfy his thirst for austerity, and 
he retired to a hermitage at Pietralata, where his reputation for 
sanctity drew disciples around him, and in spite of his yearning 
for solitude he found himself at the head of a new Order, of which 
the Rule, anticipating the Mendicants in its urgency of poverty, 
was approved by Celestin III. in 1196. Already it had spread 
from the mother-house of San Giovanni in Fiore, and numbered 
several other monasteries.f 

• Tocco, L'Eresia nel Medio Evo, Firenze, 1884, pp. 265-70. — Profetie dell' 
Abate Gioachino, Venezia, 1646, p. 8. 

t Tocco, op. cit. pp. 271-81.— Ccelestin. PP. III. Epist. 279. 


Joachim considered himself inspired, and though in 1200 he 
submitted his works unreservedly to the Holy See, he had no hesi- 
tation in speaking of them as divinely revealed. During his life- 
time he enjoyed the reputation of a prophet. When Kichard of 
England and Philip Augustus were at Messina, they sent for him 
to inquire as to the outcome of their crusade, and he is said to 
have foretold to them that the hour had not yet come for the de- 
liverance of Jerusalem. Others of his fulfilled prophecies are also 
related, and the mystical character of the apocalyptic speculations 
which he left behind him served to increase, after his death, his 
reputation as a seer. His name became one customarily employed 
for centuries when any dreamer or sharper desired to attract at- 
tention, and quite a literature of forgeries grew up which were 
ascribed to him. Somewhat more than a century after his death 
we find the Dominican Pipino enumerating a long catalogue of 
his works with the utmost respect for his predictions. In 1319 
Bernard Delicieux places unlimited confidence in a prophetical 
book of Joachim's in which there were representations of all fut- 
ure popes with inscriptions and symbols under them. Bernard 
points out the different pontiffs of his own period, predicts the 
fate of John XXII., and declares that for two hundred years there 
bad been no mortal to whom so much was revealed as to Joachim. 
Cola di Bienzo found in the pseudo-prophecies of Joachim the en- 
couragement that inspired his second attempt to govern Borne. 
The Franciscan tract De ultima ^Etate Ecclesice, written in 1356, 
and long ascribed to "Wickliff, expresses the utmost reverence for 
Joachim, and frequently cites his prophecies. The Liber Con- 
formitatum, in 1385, quotes repeatedly the prediction ascribed to 
Joachim as to the foundation of the two Mendicant Orders, sym- 
bolized in those of the Dove and of the Crow, and the tribulations 
to which the former was to be exposed. Not long afterwards the 
hermit Telesforo da Cosenza drew from the same source prophe- 
cies as to the course and termination of the Great Schism, and the 
line of future popes until the coming of Antichrist — prophecies 
which attracted sufficient attention to call for a refutation from 
Henry of Hesse, one of the leading theologians of the day. Car- 
dinal Peter d'Ailly speaks with respect of Joachim's prophecies 
concerning Antichrist, and couples him with the prophetess St. 
Hildegarda, while the rationalistic Cornelius Agrippa endeavors 


to explain his predictions by the occult powers of numbers. Hu- 
man credulity preserved his reputation as a prophet to modern 
times, and until at least as late as the seventeenth century prophe- 
cies under his name were published, containing series of popes 
with symbolical figures, inscriptions, and explanations, apparently 
similar to the Vaticinia Pontificum which so completely possessed 
the confidence of Bernard Delicieux. Even in the seventeenth 
century the Carmelites printed the Oraculum Angelicum of Cyril, 
with its pseudo-Joachitic commentary, as a proof of the antiquity 
of their Order.* 

Joachim's immense and durable reputation as a prophet was 
due not so much to his genuine works as to the spurious ones cir- 
culated under his name. These were numerous — Prophecies of 
Cyril, and of the Erythraean Sybil, Commentaries on Jeremiah, the 
Vaticinia Pontificum, the De Oneribus Ecclesice and De Septem 
Temporibus Ecclesioe. In some of these, reference to Frederic II. 
would seem to indicate a period of composition about the year 
1250, when the strife between the papacy and empire was at the 
hottest, and the current prophecies of Merlin were freely drawn 
upon in framing their exegesis. There can be little doubt that 
their authors were Franciscans of the Puritan party, and their 
fearless denunciations of existing evils show how impatient had 
grown the spirit of dissatisfaction. The apocalyptic prophecies 

* Lib. Concordiae Proef. (Venet. 1519). — Fr. Francisci Pipini Chron. (Muratori 
S. R. I. IX. 498-500).— Rog. Hovedens. ann. 1190.— MSS. Bib. Nat, fonds latin, No 
4270, fol. 260-2.— Couiba, La Riforma in Italia, I. 388.— Lech ler's Wickliffe, Lori- 
mer's Translation, II. 321.— Lib. Conformitat. Lib. i. Fruct. i. P. 2; Fruct. ix. P. 2 
(fol. 12, 91). — Telesphori de magnis Tribulationibus Prceem. — Henric. de Hassia 
contra Vaticin. Telesphori c. xi. (Pez Thesaur. I. n. 521). — Franz Ehrle (Archiv 
fur Lit.- u. Kirchengeschichte, 1886, p. 331). — P. d'Ailly Concord. Astron.Veritat. 
c. lix. (August. Vindel. 1490). — H. Cornel. Agripp. de Occult. Philosoph. Lib. n. 
c. ii. 

The Vaticinia Pontificum of the pseudo-Joachim long remained a popular 
oracle. I have met with editions of Venice issued in 1589, 1600, 1605, and 1646, 
of Ferrara in 1591, of Frankfort in 1608, of Padua in 1625, and of Naples in 1660, 
an J there are doubtless numerous others. 

Dante represents Bonaventura as pointing out the saints — 

" Raban e quivi, e lucemi dallato 
II Calavrese abate Giovacchino 
Di spirito profetico dotato." — (Paradiso xn.). 


were freely interpreted as referring to the carnal worldliness which 
pervaded all orders in the Church ; all are reprobate, none are 
elect ; Rome is the Whore of Babylon, and the papal curia the 
most venal and extortionate of all courts ; the Roman Church is 
the barren fig-tree, accursed by Christ, which shall be abandoned 
to the nations to be stripped. It would be difficult to exaggerate 
the bitterness of antagonism displayed in these writings, even to 
the point of recognizing the empire as the instrument of God 
which is to overthrow the pride of the Church. These outspoken 
utterances of rebellion excited no little interest, especially within 
the Order itself. Adam de Marisco, the leading Franciscan of 
England, sends to his friend Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, some 
extracts from these works which have been brought to him from 
Italy. He speaks of Joachim as one justly credited with divine 
insight into prophetic mysteries; he asks to have the fragments 
returned to him after copying, and meanwhile commends to the 
bishop's consideration the impending judgments of Providence 
which are invited by the abounding wickedness of the time.* 

Of Joachim's genuine writings the one which, perhaps, at- 
tracted the most attention in his own day was a tract on the 
nature of the Trinity, attacking the definition of Peter Lombard, 
and asserting that it attributed a Quaternity to God. The subtle- 
ties of theology were dangerous, and in place of proving the Mas- 
ter of Sentences a heretic, Joachim himself narrowly escaped. 
Thirteen years after his death, the great Council of Lateran, in 
1215, thought his speculation sufficiently important to condemn 
it as erroneous in an elaborate refutation, which was carried into 
the canon law, and Innocent III. preached a sermon on the sub- 
ject to the assembled fathers. Fortunately Joachim, in 1200, had 
expressly submitted all his writings to the judgment of the Holy 
See and had declared that he held the same faith as that of Rome. 
The council, therefore, refrained from condemning him personally 

* Pseudo-Joachim de Oneribus Ecclesiae c. iii., xv., xvi., xvii., xx. - , xxi., xxii., 
xxiii., xxx. — Ejusd. super Hieremiam c. i., ii., iii., etc. — Saliuibene p. 107. — Mon- 
umenta Franciscana p. 147 (M. R. Series). 

The author of the Commentary on Jeremiah had probably been disciplined 
for freedom of speech in the pulpit, for (cap. i.) he denounces as bestial a license 
to preach which restricts the liberty of the spirit, and only permits the preacher 
to dispute on carnal vices. 


and expressed its approbation of his Order of Flora ; but notwith- 
standing this the monks found themselves derided and insulted 
as the followers of a heretic, until, in 1220, they procured from 
Honorius III. a bull expressly declaring that he was a good Cath- 
olic, and forbidding all detraction of his disciples.* 

His most important writings, however, were his expositions of 
Scripture composed at the request of Lucius III., Urban III., and 
Clement III. Of these there were three — the Concordia, the De- 
cachordon, or Psalterium decern Cordarum, and the Expositio in 
ApocaJtjpsin. In these his system of exegesis is to find in every 
incident under the Old Law the prefiguration of a corresponding 
fact in chronological order under the ]Sew Dispensation, and by 
an arbitrary parallelism of dates to reach forward and ascertain 
what is yet to come. He thus determines that mankind is des- 
tined to live through three states — the first under the rule of the 
Father, which ended at the birth of Christ, the second under that 
of the Son, and the third under the Holy Ghost. The reign of 
the Son, or of the Xew Testament, he ascertains by varied apoca- 
lyptic speculations is to last through forty-two generations, or 1260 
years — for instance, Judith remained in widowhood three years 
and a half, or forty-two months, which is 1260 days, the great 
number representing the years through which the Xew Testament 
is to endure, so that in the year 1260 the domination of the Holy 
Ghost is to replace it. In the forty-second generation there will 
be a purgation which will separate the wheat from the chaff — such 
tribulations as man has never yet endured : fortunately they will 
be short, or all flesh would perish utterly. After this, religion 
will be renewed ; man will live in peace and justice and joy, as in 
the Sabbath which closed the labors of creation ; all shall know 
God, from sea to sea, to the utmost confines of the earth, and the 
glory of the Holy Ghost shall be perfect. In that final abundance 
of spiritual grace the observances of religion will be no longer 

* Concil. Lateran. IV. c. 2.— Theiner Monument Slavor. Meridional. I. 63 — 
Lib. i. Sexto, 1, 2 (Cap. Damnamus). — Wadding, ann. 1256, No. 8, 9. — Salim- 
bene Chron. p. 103. 

Nearly half a century later Thomas Aquinas still considered Joachim's specu- 
lations on the Trinity worthy of elaborate refutation, and near the close of the 
fourteenth century Eymerich reproduces the whole controversy. — Direct. Inqui- 
sit. pp. 4-6, 15-17. 


requisite. As the paschal lamb was superseded by the Eucharist, 
so the sacrifice of the altar will become superfluous. A new mo- 
nastic Order is to arise which will convert the world ; contempla- 
tive monachism is the highest development of humanity, and the 
world will become, as it were, one vast monastery.* 

In this scheme of the future elevation of man, Joachim recog- 
nized fully the evils of his time. The Church he describes as 
thoroughly given over to avarice and greed ; wholly abandoned 
to the lusts of the flesh, it neglects its children, who are carried 
off by zealous heretics. The Church of the second state, he says, 
is Hagar, but that of the third state will be Sarah. With endless 
amplitude he illustrates the progressive character of the relations 
between God and man in the successive eras. The first state, 
under God, was of the circumcision ; the second, under Christ, is 
of the crucifixion ; the third, under the Holy Ghost, will be of 
quietude and peace. Under the first was the order of the married ; 
under the second, that of the priesthood ; under the third will be 
that of monachism, which has already had its precursor in St. Ben- 
edict. The first was the reign of Saul, the second that of David, 
the third will be that of Solomon enjoying the plenitude of peace. 
In the first, man was under the law, in the second under grace, in 
the third he will be under ampler grace. The people of the first 
state are symbolized by Zachariah the priest, those of the second 
by John the Baptist, those of the third by Christ himself. In the 
first state there was knowledge, in the second piety, in the third 
will be plenitude of knowledge ; the first state was servitude, the 
second was filial obedience, the third will be liberty ; the first state 
was passed in scourging, the second in action, the third will be in 
contemplation ; the first was in fear, the second in faith, the third 
will be in love ; the first was of slaves, the second of freemen, the 
third will be of friends ; the first was of old men, the second of 
youths, the third will be of children ; the first was starlight, the 
second dawn, the third will be perfect day ; the first was winter, 
the second opening spring, the third will be summer; the first 
brought forth nettles, the second roses, the third will bear lilies ; 

* Joachiini Concordiae Lib. iv. c. 31, 34, 38; Lib. v. c. 58, 63, 65, 67, 68, 74, 
78, 89, 118. 

Joachim was held to have predicted the rise of the Mendicants (y. 43), but 
his anticipations looked wholly to contemplative monachism. 


the first was grass, the second grain in the ear, the third will be 
the ripened wheat ; the first was water, the second wine, the third 
will be oil. Finally, the first belongs to the Father, creator of all 
things, the second to the Son, who assumed our mortal clay, the 
third will belong to the pure Holy Spirit.* 

It is a very curious fact that while Joachim's metaphysical 
subtleties respecting the Trinity were ostentatiously condemned 
as a dangerous heresy, no one seems at the time to have recognized 
the far more perilous conclusions to be drawn from these apoca- 
lyptic reveries. So far from being burned as heretical, they were 
prized by popes, and Joachim was honored as a prophet until his 
audacious imitators and followers developed the revolutionary doc- 
trines to which they necessarily led. To us, for the moment, their 
chief significance lies in the proof which they afford that the most 
pious minds confessed that Christianity was practically a failure. 
Mankind had scarce grown better under the Xew Law. Vices 
and passions were as unchecked as they had been before the com- 
ing of the Redeemer. The Church itself was worldly and carnal ; 
in place of elevating man it had been dragged down to his level ; 
it had proved false to its trust and was the exemplar of evil rather 
than the pattern of good. To such men as Joachim it was impos- 
sible that crime and misery should be the ultimate and irremedi- 
able condition of human life, and yet the Atonement had thus far 
done little to bring it nearer to the ideal. Christianity, therefore, 
could not be a finality in man's existence upon earth; it was 
merely an intermediate condition, to be followed by a further de- 
velopment, in which, under the rule of the Holy Ghost, the law 
of love, fruitlessly inculcated by the gospel, should at last become 
the dominant principle, and men, released from carnal passions, 

* Joachimi Concordiae Lib. i. Tract, ii. c. 6 ; it. 25, 26, 33; v. 2 21 60 65 
66, 84. 

The Commission of Anagni in 1255 by a strained interpretation of a passage 
in the Concordia (n. i. 7) accused Joachim of having justified the schism of the 
Greeks (Denifle, Archiv f. Litt.- u. K. 1885, p. 120). So far was he from this 
that he never loses an occasion of decrying the Oriental Church, especiallv for 
the marriage of its priests (e. g., v. 70, 72). Yet when he asserted that Antichrist 
was already born in Rome, and it was objected to him that Babylon was assigned 
as the birthplace, he had no hesitation in saying that Rome was the mystical 
Babylon.— Rad. de Coggeshall Chron. (Bouquet, XVIII. 76). 


. should realize the glad promises so constantly held out before them 
and so miserably withheld in the performance. Joachim himself 
might seek to evade these deductions from his premises, yet others 
could not fail to make them, and nothing could be more auda- 
ciously subversive of the established spiritual and temporal order 
of the Church. 

Yet for a time his speculations attracted little attention and 
no animadversion. It is possible that the condemnation of his 
theory of the Trinity may have cast a shadow over his exegetical 
works and prevented their general dissemination, but they were 
treasured by kindred spirits, and copies of them were carried into 
various lands and carefully preserved. Curiously enough, the first 
response which they elicited was from the bold heretics known 
as the Amaurians, whose ruthless suppression in Paris, about the 
year 1210, we have already considered. Among their errors was 
enumerated that of the three Eras, which was evidently derived 
from Joachim, with the difference that the third Era had already 
commenced. The power of the Father only lasted under the Mo- 
saic Law ; with the advent of Christ all the sacraments of the Old 
Testament were superseded. The reign of Christ has lasted till 
the present time, but now commences the sovereignty of the Holy 
Ghost ; the sacraments of the New Testament — baptism, the Eu- 
charist, penitence, and the rest — are obsolete and to be discarded, 
and the power of the Holy Ghost will operate through the per- 
sons in whom it is incarnated. The Amaurians, as we have seen, 
promptly disappeared, and the derivative sects — the Ortlibenses, 
and the Brethren of the Free Spirit — seem to have omitted this 
feature of the heresy. At all events, we hear nothing more of it 
in that quarter.* 

Gradually, however, the writings of Joachim obtained currency, 
and with the ascription to him of the false prophecies which ap- 
peared towards the middle of the century his name became more 
widely known and of greater authority. In Provence and Lan- 
guedoc, especially, his teachings found eager reception. Harried 
successively by the crusades and the Inquisition, and scarce as 
yet fairly reunited with the Church, those regions furnished an 

* Rigord. de Gest. Phil. Aug. arm. 1210. — Guillel. Nangiac. arm. 1210. — Caesar. 
Hcisterb. dist. v. c. xxii. 
III.— 2 


ample harvest of earnest minds which might well seek in the 
hoped-for speedy realization of Joachim's dreams compensation for 
the miseries of the present. Kor did those dreams lack an apostle 
of unquestionable orthodoxy. Hugues de Digne, a hermit of 
Hyeres, had a wide reputation for learning, eloquence, and sanctity. 
He had been Franciscan Provincial of Provence, but had laid down 
that dignity to gratify his passion for austerity, and his sister, 
St. Douceline, lived in a succession of ecstasies in which she was 
lifted from the ground. Hugues was intimate with the leading 
men of the Order ; Alexander Hales, Adam de Marisco, and the 
general, John of Parma, are named as among his close friends. 
With the latter, especially, he had the common bond that both 
were earnest Joachites. He possessed all the works of Joachim, 
genuine and spurious, he had the utmost confidence in their proph- 
ecies, which he regarded as divine inspiration, and he did much 
to extend the knowledge of them, which was not difficult, as he 
himself had the reputation of a prophet.* 

The Spiritual section of the Franciscans was rapidly becoming 
leavened with these ideas. To minds inclined to mysticism, filled 
with unrest, dissatisfied with the existing unfulfilment of their 
ideal, and longing earnestly for its realization, there might well 
be an irresistible fascination in the promises of the Calabrian ab- 
bot, of which the term was now so rapidly approaching. If these 
Joachitic Franciscans developed the ideas of their teacher with 
greater boldness and definiteness, their ardor had ample excuse. 
They were living witnesses of the moral failure of an effort from 
which everything had been expected for the regeneration of hu- 
manity. They had seen how the saintly teachings of Francis 
and the new revelation of which he had been the medium were 
perverted by worldly men to purposes of ambition and greed ; 
how the Order, which should have been the germ of human re- 
demption, was growing more and more carnal, and how its saints 
were martyred by their fellows. Unless the universe were a fail- 
ure, and the promises of God were lies, there must be a term to 

* Salimbene Chron. pp. 97-109, 124, 318-20.— Chron. Glassberger ann. 1286. 
— Vie de Douceline (Meyer, Recueil cTanciens Textes, pp. 142-46). 

Salimbene, in enumerating the special intimates of John of Parma, character- 
izes several of them as "great Joachites." 


human wickedness ; and as the Gospel of Christ and the Rule of 
Francis had not accomplished the salvation of mankind, a new 
gospel was indispensable. Besides, Joachim had predicted that 
there would arise a new religious Order which would rule the 
world and the Church in the halcyon age of the Holy Ghost. 
They could not doubt that this referred to the Franciscans as rep- 
resented by the Spiritual group, which was striving to uphold in 
all its strictness the Rule of the venerated founder.* 

Such, we may presume, were the ideas which were troubling 
the hearts of the earnest Spirituals as they pondered over the 
prophecies of Joachim. In their exaltation many of them were 
themselves given to ecstasies and visions full of prophetic insight. 
Prominent members of the Order had openly embraced the Joa- 
chitic doctrines, and his prophecies, genuine and spurious, were 
applied to all events as they occurred. In 1248 Salimbene, the 
chronicler, who was already a warm believer, met at the Francis- 
can convent of Provins (Champagne) two ardent condisciples, 
Gherardo da Borgo San Donnino and Bartolommeo Ghiscolo of 
Parma. St. Louis was just setting forth on his ill-starred Egyp- 
tian crusade. The Joachites had recourse to the pseudo-Joachim 
on Jeremiah, and foretold that the expedition would be a failure, 
that the king would be taken prisoner, and that pestilence would 
decimate the host. This was not calculated to render them popu- 
lar ; the peace of the good brethren was sadly broken by quarrels, 
and the Joachites found it advisable to depart. Salimbene went 
to Auxerre, Ghiscolo to Sens, and Gherardo to Paris, where his 
learning secured for him admission to the university as the repre- 
sentative of Sicily, and he obtained a chair in theology. Here for 
four years he pursued his apocalyptic studies. f 

* Protocoll. Commiss. Anagniae (Denifle, Archiv far Litteratur- und Kirchen- 
geschichte, 1885, pp. 111-12). 

t Hist. Tribulat. (ubi sup. pp. 178-9).— Salimbene, pp. 102, 233. 

According to the exegesis of the Joachites, Frederic II. was to attain the age 
of seventy. When he died, in 1250, Salimbene refused to believe it, and remained 
incredulous until Innocent IV., in his triumphal progress from Lyons, came to 
Ferrara, nearly ten months afterwards, and exchanged congratulations upon it. 
Salimbene was present, and Fra Gherardino of Parma turned to him and said, 
"You know it now ; leave your Joachim and apply yourself to wisdom " (lb. pp. 
107, 227). 


Suddenly, in 1254, Paris was startled with the appearance of a 
book under the title of " The Everlasting Gospel "—a name derived 
from the Apocalypse—" And I saw another angel fly in the midst 
of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that 
dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, 
and people" (Rev. xiv. 6). It consisted of Joachim's three un- 
doubted works, with explanatory glosses, preceded by a long In- 
troduction, in which the hardy author developed the ideas of the 
prophet audaciously and uncompromisingly. The daring vent- 
ure had an immediate and immense popular success, which shows 
how profoundly the conviction which prompted it was shared 
among- all classes. The rhvmes of Jean de Meung indicate that 
the demand for it came from the laity rather than the clergy, and 
that it was sought bv women as well as bv men — 

" Ung livre de par le grant diable 
Dit l'Evangile pardurable . . . 
A Paris n'eust home ne feme 
Au parvis devant Xostre-Dame 
Qui lors avoir ne le p£ust 
A transcrire, s'il li pleust." * 

Nothing more revolutionary in spirit, more subversive of the 
established order of the Church, can be conceived than the asser- 
tions which thus aroused popular sympathy and applause. Joa- 
chim's computations were accepted, and it was assumed absolute- 
ly that in six years, in 1260, the reign of Christ would end and 
the reign of the Holy Ghost begin. Already, in 1200, the spirit 
of life had abandoned the Old and Xew Testaments in order to 
give place to the Everlasting Gospel, consisting of the Concordia, 

* Renan, Xouvelles Etudes, p. 296. 

Joachim had already used the term Everlasting Gospel to designate the 
spiritual interpretation of the Evangelists, which was henceforth to rule the 
world. His disciple naturally considered Joachim's commentaries to be this 
spiritual interpretation, and that they constituted the Everlasting Gospel to 
which he furnished a Gloss and Introduction. The Franciscans were necessarily 
the contemplative Order intrusted with its dissemination. (See Denifle, Archiv 
fur Littcratur- etc., 1885, pp. 54-59, 61.) According to Denifle (pp. 67-70) the 
publication of Gherardo consisted only of the Introduction and the Concordia. 
The xVpocalypse and the Decachordon were to follow, but the venturesome en- 
terprise was cut short. 


the Expositio, and the Decachordon — the development and spir- 
itualization of all that had preceded it. Even as Joachim had 
dwelt on the ascending scale of the three Eras, so the author 
of the Introduction characterized the progressive methods of the 
three Scriptures. The Old Testament is the first heaven, the 
New Testament the second heaven, the Everlasting Gospel the 
third heaven. The first is like the light of the stars, the second 
like that of the moon, and the third like that of the sun ; the first 
is the porch, the second the holy place, and the third the Holy of 
Holies ; the first is the rind, the second the nut, the third the ker- 
nel ; the first is earth, the second water, the third fire ; the first 
is literal, the second spiritual, and the third is the law promised in 
Jeremiah xxxi. The preaching and dissemination of this supreme 
and eternal law of God is committed to the barefooted Order (the 
Franciscans). At the threshold of the Old Law were three men, 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob : at that of the New Law were three 
others, Zachariah, John the Baptist, and Christ : and at that of 
the coming age are three, the man in linen (Joachim), the Angel 
with the sharp sickle, and the Angel with the sign of the living God 
(Francis). In the blessed coming reign of the Holy Ghost men 
will live under the law" of love, as in the first Era they lived in fear, 
and in the second in grace. Joachim had argued against the con- 
tinuance of the sacraments ; Gherardo regarded them as symbols 
and enigmas, from which man would be liberated in the time to 
come, for love would replace all the observances founded upon the 
second Dispensation. This was destructive of the whole sacerdo- 
tal system, which was to be swept away and relegated to the limbo 
of the forgotten past ; and scarce less revolutionary was his bold 
declaration that the Abomination of Desolation would be a pope 
tainted with simony, w r ho, towards the end of the sixth age, now 
at hand, would obtain the papacy.* 

* Protocol. Cornmiss. Anagniae (H. Denifle Archiv fur Litt.- etc., 1885, pp. 
99-102, 109, 126, 135-6). 

It appears to me that Father DenifiVs laborious research has sufficiently 
proved that the errors commonly ascribed to the Everlasting Gospel (D'Argentre 
I. i. 162-5 ; Eymeric. Direct. Inq. P. n. Q. 9 ; Hermann. Korneri Chron. ap. 
Eccard. Corp. Hist. Med. iEvi. II. 849-51) are the strongly partisan accusations 
sent to Rome by William of St. Amour (ubi sup. pp. 76-86) which have led to 


The authorship of this bold challenge to an infallible Church 
was long attributed to John of Parma himself, but there would 
seem little doubt that it was the work of Gherardo— the outcome 
of his studies and reveries during the four years spent in the Uni- 
versity of Paris, although John of Parma possibly had a hand in 
it. Certainly, as Tocco well points out, he at least sympathized 
with it, for he never punished the author, in spite of the scandal 
which it brought upon the Order, and Bernard Gui tells us that at 
the time it was commonly ascribed to him. I have already re- 
lated with what joy William of Saint Amour seized upon it in the 
quarrel between the University and the Mendicants, and the ad- 
vantage it momentarily gave the former. Under existing circum- 
stances it could have no friends or defenders. It was too reckless 
an onslaught on all existing institutions, temporal and spiritual. 
The only thing to be done with it was to suppress it as quietly as 
possible. Consideration for the Franciscan Order demanded this, 
as well as the prudence which counselled that attention should 
not be unduly called to it, although hundreds of victims had been 
burned for heresies far less dangerous. The commission which sat 
at Anagni in July, 1255, for its condemnation had a task over 
which there could be no debate, but I have already pointed out 
the contrast between the reserve with which it was suppressed and 
the vindictive clamor with which Saint Amour's book against 
the Mendicants was ordered to be burned.- 

exaggerated misconceptions of its rebellious tendencies. Father Denifle, how- 
ever, proceeds to state that the result of the commission of Anagni (Julv, 1255) 
was merely the condemnation of the views of Gherardo, and that the works of 
Joachim (except his tract against Peter Lombard) have never been condemned 
by the Church. Yet when the exaggerations of William of St. Amour are 
thrown aside, there is in reality little in principle to distinguish Joachim from 
Gherardo ; and if the former was not condemned it was not the fault of the Com- 
mission of Anagni, which classed both together and energetically endeavored to 
prove Joachim a heretic, even to showing that he never abandoned his heresy on 
the Trinity (ubi sup. pp. 137-41). 

Yet if there was little difference in the letter, there was a marked divergence 
in spirit between Joachim and his commentator— the former being constructive 
and the latter destructive as regards the existing Church. See Tocco, Archivio 
Storico Italiano, 1886. 

* Matt. Paris ann. 1256 (Ed. 1644, p. 032).— Salimbene, p. 102.— Bern. Guidon. 


The Spiritual section of the Franciscans was fatally compro- 
mised, and the worldly party, which had impatiently borne the 
strict rule of John of Parma, saw its opportunity of gaining the 
ascendency. Led by Bernardo da Bessa, the companion of Bona- 
ventura, formal articles of accusation were presented to Alexander 
IV. against the general. He was accused of listening to no ex- 
planations of the Rule and Testament, holding that the privileges 
and declarations of the popes were of no moment in comparison. 
It was not hinted that he was implicated in the Everlasting Gos- 
pel, but it was alleged that he pretended to enjoy the spirit of 
prophecy and that he predicted a division of the Order between 
those who procured papal relaxations and those who adhered to 
the Rule, the latter of whom would flourish under the dew of 
heaven and the benediction of God. Moreover, he was not ortho- 
dox, but defended the errors of Joachim concerning the Trinity, 
and his immediate comrades had not hesitated, in sermons and 
tracts, to praise Joachim immoderately and to assail the leading 
men of the Order. In this, as in the rest of the proceedings, the 
studied silence preserved as to the Everlasting Gospel shows how 
dangerous was the subject, and how even the fierce passions of the 
strife shrank from compromising the Order by admitting that any 
of its members Avere responsible for that incendiary production.* 

Vit. Alex. PP. IV. (Muratori S. R. I. III. i. 593). Cf. Amalr. Auger. Vit. Alex. PP. 
IV. (lb. III. ii. 404). 

For the authorship of the Everlasting Gospel, see Tocco, LTHeresia nel Medio 
Evo, pp. 473-4, and his review of Denifle and Haupt, Archivio Storico Italiano, 
1886; Renan,pp. 248, 277; and Denifle, ubi sup. pp. 57-8. 

One of the accusations brought against William of Saint Amour was that he 
complained of the delay in condemning the Everlasting Gospel, to which he re- 
plied with an allusion to the influence of those who defended the errors of 
Joachim. — Dupin, Bib. des Autenrs fCccles. T. X. ch. vii. 

Thomas of Cantimpre" assures us that Saint Amour would have won the day 
against the Mendicant Orders but for the learning and eloquence of Albertus 
Magnus. — Bonum Universale, Lib. n. c. ix. 

* Wadding, ann. 1256, No. 2. — Affo (Lib. n. c. iv.) argues that John of Parma's 
resignation was wholly spontaneous, that there were no accusations against him, 
and that both the pope and the Franciscans were with difficulty persuaded to let 
him retire. He quotes Salimbene (Chronica p. 137) as to the reluctance of the 
chapter to accept his resignation, but does not allude to the assertion of the same 
authority that John was obnoxious to Alexander and to many of the ministers 
of the Order by reason of his too zealous belief in Joachim (lb. p. 131). 


Alexander was easily persuaded, and a general chapter was 
held in the Aracceli, February 2, 1257, over which he personally 
presided. John of Parma was warned to resign, and did so, 
pleading age, weariness, and disability. After a decent show of 
resistance his resignation was accepted and he was asked to nom- 
inate a successor. His choice fell upon Bonaventura, then only 
thirty -four years of age, whose participation in the struggle with 
the University of Paris had marked him as the most promising 
man in the Order, while he was not identified with either faction. 
He was duly elected, and the leaders of the movement required 
him to proceed against John and his adherents. Bonaventura for 
a while hesitated, but at length consented. Gherardo refused to 
recant, and Bonaventura sent for him to come to Paris. In pass- 
ing through Modena he met Salimbene, who had cowered before 
the storm and had renounced Joachitism as a folly. The two 
friends had a long colloquy, in which Gherardo offered to prove 
that Antichrist was already at hand in the person of Alonso the 
Wise of Castile. He was learned, pure-minded, temperate, modest, 
amiable — in a word, a most admirable and lovable character ; but 
nothing could wean him from his Joachitic convictions, though in 
his trial discreet silence, as usual, was observed about the Everlast- 
ing Gospel, and he was condemned as an upholder of Joachim's 
Trinitarian speculations. Had he not been a Franciscan he would 
have been burned. It was a doubtful mercv which consigned him 
to a dungeon in chains and fed him on bread and water for eigh- 
teen years, until his weary life came to an end. He never wavered 
to the last, and his remains were thrust into a corner of the gar- 
den of the convent where he died. The same fate awaited his 
comrade Leonardo, and also another friar named Piero de' Nubili, 
who refused to surrender a tract of John of Parma's.* 

* Wadding, ann. 1256, No. 3-5.— Salimbene, pp. 102, 233-6.— Hist. Tribulat. 
(Archiv fur L. u. K. 1886, p. 285).— Although Salimbene prudently abandoned 
Joachitism, he never outgrew his belief in Joachim's prophetic powers. Many 
years later he gives as a reason for suspecting the Segarellists, that if they were 
of God, Joachim would have predicted them as he did the Mendicants (lb. 

The silence of the Historia Tribulationum with respect to the Everlasting 
Gospel is noteworthy. By common consent that dangerous work seems to be 
ignored by all parties. 


Then John himself was tried by a special court, to preside over 
which Alexander appointed Cardinal Caietano, afterwards Nicho- 
las III. The accused readily retracted his advocacy of Joachim, 
but his bearing irritated the judges, and, with Bonaventura's con- 
sent, he would have shared the fate of his associates but for the 
strenuous intercession of Ottoboni, Cardinal of S. Adrian, after- 
wards Adrian V. Bonaventura gave him the option of selecting a 
place of retreat, and he chose a little convent near Rieti. There 
he is said to have lived for thirty-two years the life of an angel, 
without abandoning his Joachitic beliefs. John XXI., who greatly 
loved him, thought of making him a cardinal in 1277, but was 
prevented by death. Nicholas III., who had presided at his trial, 
a few years later offered him the cardinalate, so as to be able to 
enjoy his advice, but he quietly answered, " I could give whole- 
some counsel if there were any one to listen to me, but in the 
Roman court there is little discussed but wars and triumphs, and 
not the salvation of souls." In 1289, however, notwithstanding 
his extreme age, he accepted from Nicholas IV. a mission to the 
Greek Church, but he died at Camerino soon after setting out. 
Buried there, he speedily shone in miracles ; he became the object 
of a lasting cult, and in 1777 he was formally beatified, in spite 
of the opposition arising from his alleged authorship of the Intro- 
duction to the Everlasting Gospel.* 

The faith of the Joachites was by no means broken by these 
reverses. William of Saint Amour thought it necessary to return 
to the charge with another bitter tract directed against them. He 
shares their belief in the impending change, but declares that in 
place of being the reign of love under the Holy Ghost, it will be 
the reign of Antichrist, whom he identifies with the Friars. Per- 
secution, he says, had put an end to the open defence of the pes- 
tiferous doctrine of the Everlasting Gospel, but it still had many 
believers in secret. The south of France was the headquarters of 
the sect. Florent, Bishop of Acre, had been the official prosecutor 
before the Commission of Anagni in 1255. He was rewarded with 
the archbishopric of Aries in 1262, and in 1265 he held a provin- 

* Wadding, ann. 1256, No. 6 ; arm. 1289, No. 26.— Hist. Tribulat. (loc. cit. 
p. 285).— Salimbene Chron. pp. 131-33, 317.— Tocco, pp. 476-77.— P. Rodulphii 
Hist. Seraph. Relig. Lib. I. fol. 117.— Affo, Lib. m. c. x. 


cial synod with the object of condemning the Joachites. who were 
still numerous in his province. An elaborate refutation of the 
errors of the Everlasting Gospel was deemed necessary ; it was 
deplored that many learned men still suffered themselves to be 
misled by it, and that books containing it were written and eagerly 
passed from hand to hand. The anathema was decreed against 
this, but no measures of active persecution seem to have been 
adopted, nor do we hear of any steps taken by the Inquisition to 
suppress the heresy. As we shall see hereafter, the leaven long 
remained in Languedoc and Provence, and gave a decided impress 
to the Spiritual Franciscanism of those regions. It mattered little 
that the hoped-for year 1260 came and passed away without the 
fulfilment of the prophecy. Earnest believers can always find ex- 
cuses for such errors in computation, and the period of the advent 
of the Holy Ghost could be put off from time to time, so as always 
to stimulate hope with the prospect of emancipation in the near 

Although the removal of John of Parma from the generalate 
had been the victory of the Conventuals, the choice of Bonaven- 
tura might well seem to give to the Spirituals assurance of con- 
tinued supremacy. In his controversy with William of Saint 
Amour he had taken the most advanced ground in denying that 
Christ and the apostles held property of any kind, and in identify- 
ing poverty with perfection. " Deep poverty is laudable ; this is 
true of itself : therefore deeper poverty is more laudable, and the 
deepest, the most laudable. But this is the poverty of him who 
neither in private nor in common keeps anything for himself. . . . 
To renounce all things, in private or in common, is Christian per- 
fection, not only sufficient but abundant : it is the principal coun- 
sel of evangelical perfection, its fundamental principle and sublime 
foundation.'' Not only this, but he was deeply imbued with mys- 
ticism and was the first to give authoritative expression to the 
IUuminism which subsequently gave the Church so much trouble. 

• Lib. de Antichristo P. i. c. x., xiii., xiv. (Martene Ampl. Coll. IX. 1273, 
1313, 1325-35).— Thomae Aquinat. Opusc. contra Impugn. Rehg. c. xxiv. 5, 6.— 
Concil. Arelatens. ann. 12G0 (1265) c. 1 (Harduin. VII. 509-12).— Fisquet, La 
France Pontificate, M6tropole d'Aix, p. 577.— Kenan, p. 254. 


His Mystica Theologia is in sharp contrast to the arid scholas- 
tic theology of the day as represented by Thomas Aquinas. The 
soul is brought face to face with God ; its sins are to be repented 
of in the silent watches of the night, and it is to seek God through 
its own efforts. It is not to look to others for aid or leader- 
ship, but, depending on itself, strive for the vision of the Divine. 
Through this Path of Purgation it ascends to the Path of Illumi- 
nation, and is prepared for the reception of the Divine Radiance. 
Finally it reaches the Third Path, which leads to union with the 
Godhead and participation in Divine Wisdom. Molinos and Ma- 
dame Guy on indulged in no more dangerous speculations ; and 
the mystic tendencies of the Spirituals received a powerful stimu- 
lus from such teachings.* 

It was inevitable that the strife within the Order between 
property and poverty should grow increasingly bitter. Questions 
were constantly arising which showed the incompatibility of the 
vows as laid down by St. Francis with the functions of an organ- 
ization which had grown to be one of the leading factors of a 
wealthy and worldly Church. In 1255 we find the sisters of the 
monastery of St. Elizabeth complaining to Alexander IV. that 
when property was given or bequeathed to them the ecclesiastical 
authorities enforced on them the observance of the Rule, by com- 
pelling them to part with it within a year by sale or gift, and the 
pope graciously promised that no such custom should be enforced 
in future. About the same time John of Parma complained that 
when his friars were promoted to the episcopate they carried away 
with them books and other things of which they had properly 
only the use, being unable to own anything under peril of their 
souls. Again Alexander graciously replied that friars, on promo- 
tion, must deliver to the provincial everything which they had in 
their hands. Such troubles must have been of almost daily occur- 
rence, and it was inevitable that the increasing friction should 
result in schism. When the blessed Gilio, the third disciple who 
joined St. Francis, was taken to Assisi to view the splendid build- 
ings erected in honor of the humble Francis, and was carried 
through three magnificent churches, connected with a vast refec- 

* S. Bonavent. de Paup. Christi Art. I. No. i., ii.— Ejusd. Mystic. Theol. cap. I. 
Partic. 2; cap. n. Partic. 1, 2; Cap. in. Partic. 1. 


tory, a spacious dormitory, and other offices and cloisters, adorned 
with lofty arches and spacious portals, he kept silent until one of 
his guides pressed him for an expression of admiration. " Breth- 
ren," he then said, " there is nothing lacking except your wives." 
This seemed somewhat irrelevant, till he explained that the vows 
of poverty and chastity were equally binding, and now that one 
was set aside the other might as well follow. Salimbene relates 
that in the convent of Pisa he met Fra Boncampagno di Prato, 
who, in place of the two new tunics per year distributed to each 
of the brethren, would only accept one old one, and who declared 
that he could scarce satisfy God for taking that one. Such exag- 
gerated conscientious sensitiveness could not but be peculiarly 
exasperating to the more worldly members.* 

The Conventuals had lost no time in securing the results of 
their victory over John of Parma. Scarce had his resignation been 
secured, and before Bonaventura could arrive from Paris they 
obtained from Alexander, February 20, 1257, a repetition of the 
declaration of Innocent IV. which enabled the Order to handle 
money and hold property through the transparent device of agents 
and the Holy See. The disgust of the Puritan party was great, 
and even the implicit reverence prescribed for the papacy could 
not prevent ominous mutterings of disobedience, raising questions 
as to the extent of the papal power to bind and to loose, which in 
time were to ripen into open rebellion. The Eule had been pro- 
claimed a revelation equal in authority to the gospel, and it might 
well be asked whether even the successor of St. Peter could set it 
aside. It was probably about this time that Bert hold of Katisbon, 
the most celebrated Franciscan preacher of his day, in discoursing 
to his brethren on the monastic state, boldly declared that the 
vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity were so binding that 
even the pope could not dispense for them. This, in fact, was 
admitted on all sides as a truism. About 1290 the Dominican 
Provincial of Germany, Hermann of Minden, in an encyclical, al- 
ludes to it as a matter of course, but in little more than a quarter 
of a century we shall see that such utterances were treated as her- 
esy, and were sternly suppressed with the stake. + 

# Wadding. Regest. Alex. PP. IV. No. 39-41; Annal. ann, 1262, No. 86.— 
Salimbene, p. 122. 

t Wadding, ann. 1256, No. 4; Regest. Alex. PP. IV. No. 66.— Bertboldi a 


Bonaventura, as we have seen, honestly sought to restrain the 
growing laxity of the Order. Before leaving Paris he addressed, 
April 23, 1257, an encyclical letter to the provincials, calling their 
attention to the prevalent vices of the brethren and the contempt 
to which they exposed the whole Order. Again, some ten years 
later, at the instance of Clement IV., he issued another similar 
epistle, in which he strongly expressed his horror at the neglect of 
the Rule shown in the shameless greed of so many members, the 
importunate striving for gain, the ceaseless litigation caused by 
their grasping after legacies and burials, and the splendor and lux- 
ury of their buildings. The provincials were instructed to put 
an end to these disorders by penance, imprisonment, or expulsion ; 
but however earnest in his zeal Bonaventura may have been, and 
however self-denying in his own life, he lacked the fiery energy 
which enabled John of Parma to give effect to his convictions. 
How utter was the prevailing degeneracy is seen in the complaint 
presented in 1265 to Clement IV., that in many places the eccle- 
siastical authorities held that the friars, being dead to the world, 
were incapable of inheritance. Relief was prayed from this, and 
Clement issued a bull declaring them competent to inherit and 
free to hold their inheritances, or to sell them, and to use the prop- 
erty or its price as might to them seem best.* 

The question of poverty evidently was one incapable of per- 

Ratispona Sermones, Monachii, 1882, p. 68. — H. Denifle, Archiv fiir Litt.- u. 
Kirchengeschichte, 1886, p. 649. 

To the true Franciscan the Rule and the gospel were one and the same. Ac- 
cording to Thomas of Celano, "II perfetto amatore dell 1 osservanza del santo 
vangelio e della professione della nostra regola, che non e altro che perfetta 
osservanza del vangelio, questo [Francesco] ardentissimamente amava, e quelli 
che sono e saranno veri amatori, dono a essi singular benedizione. Veramente, 
dicea, questa nostra professione a quelli che la seguitano, esser libro di vita, 
speranza di salute, arra di gloria, melodia del vangelio, via di croce, stato di 
perfezione, chiave di paradiso, e patto di eterna pace." — Amoni, Legenda S. Fran- 
cisci, App. c. xxix. 

* S. Bonavent, Opp. I. 485-6 (Ed. 1584).— Wadding, ann. 1257, No. 9; Re- 
gest. Clem. PP. IV. No. I. 

Pierre Jean Olivi states that he himself heard Bonaventura declare in a chap- 
ter held in Paris that he would, at any moment, submit to be ground to powder 
if it would bring the Order back to the condition designed by St. Francis.— 
Franz Ehrlc, Archiv fiir L. u. K. 1887, p. 517. 


manent and satisfactory settlement. Dissension in the Order 
could not be healed. In vain Gregory X., about 1275, was ap- 
pealed to, and decided that the injunction of the Kule against the 
possession of property, individually or in common, was to be strict- 
ly observed. The worldly party continued to point out the in- 
compatibility of this with the necessities of human nature ; they 
declared it to be a tempting of God and a suicide of the individ- 
ual ; the quarrel continually grew more bitterly envenomed, and 
in 1279 Nicholas III. undertook to settle it with a formal declara- 
tion which should forever close the mouths of all cavillers. For 
two months he secretly labored at it in consultation with the two 
Franciscan cardinals, Palestrina and Albano, the general, Bona- 
grazia, and some of the provincials. Then it was submitted to a 
commission in which was Benedetto Caietano, afterwards Boni- 
face VIII. Finally it was read and adopted in full consistory, 
and it was included, twenty years later, in the additions to the 
canon law compiled and published by order of Boniface. No ut- 
terance of the Holy See could have more careful consideration 
and more solemn authority than the bull known as Emit qui semi- 
nat, which was thus ushered into the world, and which subsequent- 
ly became the subject of such deadly controversy.* 

It declares the Franciscan Kule to be the inspiration of the 
Holy Ghost through St. Francis. The renunciation of property, 
not only individual but in common, is meritorious and holy. Such 
absolute renunciation of possession had been practised by Christ 
and the apostles, and had been taught by them to their disciples ; 
it is not only meritorious and perfect, but lawful and possible, for 
there is a distinction between use, which is permitted, and owner- 
ship, which is forbidden. Following the example of Innocent IV. 
and Alexander IV., the proprietorship of all that the Franciscans 
use is declared to be vested, now and hereafter, in the Koman 
Church and pontiff, which concede to the friars the usufruct 
thereof. The prohibition to receive and handle money is to be 
enforced, and borrowing is especially deprecated ; but, when neces- 
sity obliges, this may be effected through third parties, although 
the brethren must abstain from handling the money or adminis- 
tering or expending it. As for legacies, they must not be left 

• Li j. v. Sexto xii. 3.— Wadding, ann. 1279, No. 11. 


directly to the friars, but only for their use ; and minute regulations 
are drawn up for exchanging or selling books and utensils. The 
bull concludes with instructions that it is to be read and taught 
in the schools, but no one, under pain of excommunication and 
loss of office and benefice, shall do anything but expound it liter- 
ally — it is not to be glossed or commented upon, or discussed, or 
explained away. All doubts and questions shall be submitted di- 
rectly to the Holy See, and any one disputing or commenting on 
the Franciscan Rule or the definitions of the bull shall undergo 
excommunication, removable only by the pope. 

Had the question been capable of permanent settlement in this 
sense, this solemn utterance would have put an end to further 
trouble. Unluckily, human nature did not cease to be human 
nature, with its passions and necessities, on crossing the threshold 
of a Franciscan convent. Unluckily, papal constitutions were as 
cobwebs when they sought to control the ineradicable vices and 
weakness of man. Unluckily, moreover, there were consciences 
too sensitive to be satisfied with fine-drawn distinctions and sub- 
tleties ingeniously devised to evade the truth. Yet the bull Exiit 
qui seminat for a while relieved the papacy from further discus- 
sion, although it could not quiet the intestine dissensions of the 
Order. There was still a body of recalcitrants, not numerous, 
it is true, but eminent for the piety and virtue of its members, 
which could not be reconciled by these subterfuges. These re- 
calcitrants gradually formed themselves into two distinct bodies, 
one in Italy, and the other in southern France. At first there is 
little to distinguish them apart, and for a long while they acted 
in unison, but there gradually arose a divergence between them, 
which in the end became decisively marked, owing to the greater 
influence exercised in Languedoc and Provence by the traditions 
of Joachim and the Everlasting Gospel. 

We have seen how the thirst for ascetic poverty, coupled in 
many cases, doubtless, with the desire to escape from the sordid 
cares of daily life, led thousands to embrace a career of wander- 
ing mendicancy. Sarabites and circumcelliones — vagrant monks, 
subjected to no rule — had been the curse of the Church ever since 
the invention of cenobitism ; and the exaltation of poverty in the 
thirteenth century had given a new impulse to the crowds who 


preferred the idleness of the road or of the hermitage to the re- 
straints and labor of civilized existence. It was in vain that the 
Lateran Council had prohibited the formation of new and unau- 
thorized Orders. The splendid success of the Mendicants had 
proved too alluring, and others were formed on the same basis, 
without the requisite preliminary of the papal approval. The 
multitudes of holy beggars were becoming a serious nuisance, op- 
pressive to the people and disgraceful to the Church. When Greg- 
orv X. summoned the General Council of Lyons, in 1274. this was 
one of the evils to be remedied. The Lateran canon prohibiting 
the formation of unauthorized Orders was renewed. Gregory pro- 
posed to suppress all the congregations of hermits, but, at the in- 
stance of Cardinal Eichard, the Carmelites and Augustinians were 
allowed to exist on sufferance until further order, while the au- 
dacity of other associations, not as yet approved, was condemned, 
especially that of the mendicants, whose multitude was declared 
to exceed all bounds. Such mendicant Orders as had been con- 
firmed since the Council of Lateran were permitted to continue, 
but they were instructed to admit no new members, to acquire no 
new houses, and not to sell what they possessed without special 
license from the Holy See. Evidently it was felt that the time 
had come for decisive measures to check the tide of saintly men- 

Some vague and incorrect rumors of this legislation penetrat- 
ing to Italy, led to an explosion which started one of the most 
extraordinary series of persecutions which the history of human 
perversity affords. On the one hand there is the marvellous con- 
stancy which endured lifelong martyrdom for an idea almost un- 
intelligible to the modern mind ; on the other there is the seem- 
ingly causeless ferocity, which appears to persecute for the mere 
pleasure of persecution, only to be explained by the bitterness of 
the feuds existing within the Order, and the savage determination 
to enforce submission at every cost. 

It was reported that the Council of Lyons had decreed that 
the Mendicants could hold property. Most of the brethren ac- 
quiesced readily enough, but those who regarded the Rule as divine 
revelation, not to be tampered with by any earthly authority, de- 

* Concil. Lugdunens. II. c. 23 (Harduiu. VII. 715).— Salimbene, pp. 110-11. 


clarecl that it would be apostasy, and a thing not to be admitted un- 
der any circumstances. Several disputations were held which only 
confirmed each side in its views. One point which gave rise to 
peculiar animosity was the refusal of the Spirituals to take their 
turns in the daily rounds in quest of moneyed alms, which had 
grown to be the custom in most places ; and it is easy to imagine 
the bitter antagonism to which this disobedience must have led. 
It shows how strained were the relations between the factions 
that proceedings for heresy were forthwith commenced against 
these zealots. The rumor proved false, the excitement died away, 
and the prosecutions were allowed to slumber for a few years, 
when they were revived through fear that these extreme opinions, 
if left unpunished, might win over the majority. Liberato da 
Macerata, Angelo da Cingoli (il Clareno), Traymondo, Tommaso da 
Tollentino, and one or two others whose names have not reached 
us were the obdurate ones who would make no concession, even 
in theory. Angelo, to whom we owe an account of the matter, 
declared that they were ready to render implicit obedience, that 
no offence was proved against them, but that nevertheless they 
were condemned, as schismatics and heretics, to perpetual impris- 
onment in chains. The sentence was inhumanly harsh. They 
were to be deprived of the sacraments, even upon the death-bed, 
thus killing soul as well as body ; during life no one was to speak 
with them, not even the jailer who brought the daily pittance of 
bread and water to their cells, and examined their fetters to see 
that they were attempting no escape. Asa warning, moreover, the 
sentence was ordered to be read weekly in all the chapters, and 
no one was to presume to criticise it as unjust. This was no idle 
threat, for when Friar Tommaso da Casteldemilio heard it read and 
said it was displeasing to God, he was cast into a similar prison, 
where he rotted to death in a few months. The fierce spirits in 
control of the Order were evidently determined that at least the 
vow of obedience should be maintained.* 

* Angel. Clarinens. Epist. Excusat. (Archiv fur Litt.- u. Kirchengeschichte, 
1885, pp. 523-4).— Histor. Tribulation. (Ibid. 1886, pp. 302-4).— Ubertini Re- 
sponsio (Ibid. 1887, p. 68). — Cf. Rodulphii Hist. Seraph. Relig. Lib. 11. fol. 

For the first time the development and history of the Spiritual Franciscans 
can now be traced with some accuracy, thanks to Franz Ehrle, S. J., who has 
III.— 3 


The prisoners seem to have lain in jail until after the election 
to the generalate of Raymond Gaufridi, at Easter, 1289. Visit- 
ing the Hark of Ancona, where they were incarcerated, he inves- 
tigated the case, blamed severely the perpetrators of the injustice, 
and set the martyrs free in 1290. The Order had been growing 
more lax in its observance than ever, in spite of the bull Exiit qui 
seminat. Matteo d'Acquasparta, who was general from 1287 to 
1289, was easy and kindly, well-intentioned but given to self -in- 
dulgence, and by no means inclined to the effort requisite to en- 
force the Rule. Respect for it, indeed, was daily diminishing. 
Coffers were placed in the churches to receive offerings ; bargains 
were made as to the price of masses and for the absolution of sin- 
ners ; boys were stationed at the church-doors to sell wax tapers 
in honor of saints ; the Friars habitually begged money in the 
streets, accompanied by boys to receive and carry it ; the sepulture 
of the rich was eagerly sought for, leading to disgraceful quarrels 
with the heirs and with the secular clergy. Everywhere there 
was self-seeking and desire for the enjoyment of an idle and luxu- 
rious life. It is true that lapses of the flesh were still rigidly pun- 
ished, but these cases were sufficiently frequent to show that ample 
cause for scandal arose from the forbidden familiarity with women 
which the brethren permitted themselves. So utter was the gen- 
eral demoralization that Xicholas, the Provincial of France, even 
dared to write a tract calling in question the bull Exiit qui semi- 
nat and its exposition of the Rule. As this was in direct contra- 
vention of the bull itself, Acquasparta felt compelled to condemn 
the work and to punish : ts author and his supporters, but the evil 
continued to work. In the Mark of Ancona and in some other 
places the reaction against asceticism was so strong that the Testa- 
ment of the revered Francis was officially ordered to be burned. 
It was the main bulwark of the Spirituals against relaxation of 
the Rule, and in one instance it was actually burned on the head 
of a friar, X. de Recanate, who presumably had made himself ob- 
noxious by insisting on its authority.* 

printed the most important documents relating to this schism in the Order, elu- 
cidated with all the resources of exact research. My numerous references to his 
papers show the extent of my indebtedness to his labors. 

* Histor. Tribulat. (loc. cit. 1886, p. 305). — Ubertioi Responsio (Ibid. 1887, 
pp. 69, 7?).— Articuli Transgressionurn (Ibid. 1887, pp. 105-7).— Wadding, ann. 


Raymond Gaufridi was earnestly desirous of restoring disci- 
pline, but the relaxation of the Order had grown past curing. His 
release of the Spirituals at Ancona caused much murmuring ; he 
was ridiculed as a patron of fantastic and superstitious men, and 
conspiracies were set on foot which never ceased till his removal 
was effected in 1295. It was perhaps to conjure these attempts that 
he sent Liberato, Angelo, Tommaso, and two kindred spirits named 
Marco and Piero to Armenia, where they induced King Haito II. 
to enter the Franciscan Order, and won from him the warmest 
eulogies. Even in the East, however, the hatred of their fellow- 
missionaries was so earnest and so demonstrative that they were 
forced to return in 1293. On their arrival in Italy the provincial, 
Monaldo, refused to receive them or to allow them to remain until 
they could communicate with Raymond, declaring that he would 
rather entertain fornicators.* 

The unreasoning wrath which insisted on these votaries of pov- 
erty violating their convictions received a check when, in 1294, the 
choice of the exhausted conclave fell by chance on the hermit 
Pier Morrone, who suddenly found his mountain burrow trans- 
formed into the papal palace. Celestin V. preserved in St. Peter's 
chair the predilection for solitude and maceration which had led 
him to the life of the anchorite. To him Raymond referred the 
Spirituals, whom he seemed unable to protect. Celestin listened 
to them kindly and invited them to enter his special Order — the 
Celestinian Benedictines — but they explained to him the difference 
of their vows, and how their brethren detested the observance of 
the Rule. Then in public audience he ordered them to observe 
strictly the Rule and Testament of Francis ; he released them from 
obedience to all except himself and to Liberato, whom he made 
their chief; Cardinal Napoleone Orsini was declared their pro- 
tector, and the abbot of the Celestinians was ordered to provide 

1289, No. 22-3.— Ubertini Declaratio (Archiv, 1887, pp. 168-9).— Dante contrasts 
Acquasparta with Ubertino da Casale, of whom we shall see more presently — 

" Ma non sia da Casal ne d'Acquasparta 
La onde vegnon tali alia Scrittura 
Ch' uno la fugge e Taltro la coarta." — (Paradiso xil). 

# Hist. Tribulat. (loc. cit, 1886, pp. 306-8).— Angel. Clarinens. Epist. (Ibid. 
1885, pp. 524-5).— Wadding, ann. 1292, No. 14. 


them with hermitages. Thus they were fairly out of the Order; 
thev were not even to call themselves Minorites or Franciscans, 
and it might be supposed that their brethren would be as glad to 
get rid of them and their assumption of superior sanctity as they 
were to escape from oppression.* 

Yet the hatred provoked by the quarrel was too deep and bit- 
ter to spare its victims, and the breathing-space which they en- 
joyed was short. Celestin's pontificate came to an abrupt termi- 
nation. Utterly unfitted for his position, speedily made the tool of 
designing men, and growing weary of the load which he felt him- 
self unable to endure, after less than six months he was persuaded 
to abdicate, in December, 1294, and was promptly thrown into pris- 
on by his successor, Boniface Till., for fear that he might be led 
to reconsider an abdication the legality of which might be ques- 
tioned. All of Celestin's acts and grants were forthwith annulled, 
and so complete was the obliteration of everything that he had 
done, that even the appointment of a notary is found to require 
confirmation and a fresh commission. Boniface's contempt for the 
unworldly enthusiasm of asceticism did not lead him to make any 
exception in favor of the Spirituals. To him the Franciscan Or- 
der was merely an instrument for the furtherance of his ambitious 
schemes, and its worldliness was rather to be stimulated than re- 
pressed. Though he placed in his Sixth Book of Decretals the 
bull Exiit qui seminat, his practical exposition of its provisions is 
seen in two bulls issued July 17, 1200, by one of which he as- 
signs to the Franciscans of Paris one thousand marks, to be taken 
from the legacies for pious uses, and by the other he converts to 
them a legacy of three hundred livres bequeathed by Ada, lady of 
Pernes, for the benefit of the Holy Land. Under such auspices 
the degradation of the Order could not but be rapid. Before his 
first year was out, Boniface had determined upon the removal of 
the general, Kaymond. October 29, 1295, he offered the latter the 
bishopric of Pa via, and on his protesting that he had not strength 
for the burden, Boniface said that he could not be fit for the 
heavier load of the generalate, of which he relieved him on the 
spot. ^Ye can understand the insolence which led a party of the 

* Angel. Clarin. Epist. (cp. cit. 1885, p. 526) ; Hist. Tribulationum (lb. 188G, 
pp. 308-9). 


Conventual faction to visit Celestin in his prison and taunt and 
insult him for the favor which he had shown to the Spirituals. A 
prosecution for heresy which Boniface ordered, in March, 1295, 
against Fra Pagano di Pietra-Santa was doubtless instigated by 
the same spirit.* 

More than this. To Boniface's worldly, practical mind the 
hordes of wandering mendicants, subjected to no authority, were an 
intolerable nuisance, whether it arose from ill-regulated asceticism 
or idle vagabondage. The decree of the Council of Lyons had 
failed to suppress the evil, and, in 1496 and 1497, Boniface issued 
instructions to all bishops to compel such wanderers or hermits, 
popularly known as Bizochi, either to lay aside their fictitious re- 
ligious habits and give up their mode of life, or to betake themselves 
to some authorized Order. The inquisitors were instructed to de- 
nounce to the bishops all suspected persons, and if the prelates 
were remiss, to report them to the Holy See. One remarkable 
clause gives special authority to the inquisitors to prosecute sucL 
of these Bizochi as may be members of their own Orders, thus 
showing that there was no heresy involved, as otherwise the in- 
quisitors would have required no additional powers. f 

The following year Boniface proceeded to more active meas- 
ures. He ordered the Franciscan, Matteo da Chieti, Inquisitor of 
Assisi, to visit personally the mountains of the Abruzzi and Mark 
of Ancona and to drive from their lurking places the apostates 
from various religious Orders and the Bizochi who infested those 
regions. His previous steps had probably been ineffective, and 
possibly also he may have been moved to more decisive action by 
the rebellious attitude of the Spirituals and proscribed mendicants. 
Not only did they question the papal authority, but they were be- 
ginning to argue that the papacy itself was vacant. So far from 
being content with the bull Exiit qui seminat, they held that its 
author, Nicholas III., had been deprived by God of the papal func- 
tions, and consequently that he had had no legitimate successors. 
Thereafter there had been no true ordinations of priest and prel- 
ate, and the real Church consisted in themselves alone. To rem- 

* Hist. Tribulat. (loc. cit. 1886, pp. 309-10).— Faucon et Thomas, Registres de 
Boniface VIII. No. 37, 1232, 1233, 1292, 1825.— Wadding, ann. 1295, No. 14. 
t Franz Ehrle, Archiv fur L. u. K. 1886, pp. 157-8. 


edy this, Frere Matthieu de Bodici came from Provence, bringing 
with him the books of Pierre Jean Olivi, and in the Church of St. 
Peter in Home he was elected pope by five Spirituals and thirteen 
women. Boniface promptly put the Inquisition on their track, 
but they fled to Sicily, which, as we shall see, subsequently be- 
came the headquarters of the sect.* 

Friar Jordan, to whom we are indebted for these details, as- 
sumes that Liberato and his associates were concerned in this 
movement. The dates and order of events are hopelessly con- 
fused, but it would rather seem that the section of the Spirituals 
represented by Liberato kept themselves aloof from all such revo- 
lutionary projects. Their sufferings were real and prolonged, but 
had they been guilty of participating in the election of an anti- 
pope they would have had but the choice between perpetual im- 
prisonment and the stake. They were accused of holding that 
Boniface was not a lawful pope, that the authority of the Church 
was vested in themselves alone, and that the Greek Church was 
preferable to the Latin — in other words of Joachitism — but Angelo 
declares emphatically that all this was untrue, and his constancy 
of endurance during fift} T years of persecution and suffering en- 
titles his assertion to respect. He relates that after their authori- 
zation by Celestin Y. they lived as hermits in accordance with the 
papal concession, sojourning as paupers and strangers wherever 
they could find a place of retreat, and strictly abstaining from 
preaching and hearing confessions, except when ordered to do so 
by bishops to whom they owed obedience. Even before the resig- 
nation of Celestin, the Franciscan authorities, irritated at the es- 
cape of their victims, disregarded the papal authority and endeav- 
ored with an armed force to capture them. Celestin himself 
seems to have given them warning of this, and the zealots, recog- 
nizing that there was no peace for them in Italy, resolved to ex- 
patriate themselves and seek some remote spot where they could 
gratify their ascetic longings and worship God without human 

* Raynald. aim. 1297, No. oo.— Jordani Chron. cap. 236, Partic. 3 (Muratori, 
Antiq XL 766). 

So far was Pierre Jean Olivi from participating in these rebellious movements 
that be wrote a tract to prove the legality of Celestin's abdication and Boniface's 
succession (Franz Ehrle, Archiv f. L. u. K. 1887, p. 525). 


interference. They crossed the Adriatic and settled on a desert 
island off the Achaian coast. Here, lost to view, they for two years 
enjoyed the only period of peace in their agitated lives ; but at 
length news of their place of retreat reached home, and forthwith 
letters were despatched to the nobles and bishops of the mainland 
accusing them of being Cathari, while Boniface was informed that 
they did not regard him as pope, but held themselves to be the 
only true Church. In 1299 he commissioned Peter, Patriarch of 
Constantinople, to try them, when they were condemned without 
a hearing, and he ordered Charles II. of Naples, who was overlord 
of the Morea, to have them expelled, an order which Charles trans- 
mitted to Isabelle de Villehardouin, Princess of Achaia. Mean- 
while the local authorities had recognized the falsity of the accu- 
sations, for the refugees celebrated mass daily and prayed for 
Boniface as pope, and were willing to eat meat, but this did not 
relieve them from surveillance and annoyance, one of their princi- 
pal persecutors being a certain Geronimo, who came to them with 
some books of Olivi's, and whom they were forced to eject for im- 
morality, after which he turned accuser and was rewarded with 
the episcopate.* 

The pressure became too strong, and the little community grad- 
ually broke up. An intention to accompany Fra Giovanni da 
Monte on a mission to Tartary had to be abandoned on account of 
the excommunication consequent upon the sentence uttered by 
the Patriarch of Constantinople. Liberato sent two brethren to 
appeal to Boniface, and then two more, but they were all seized 
and prevented from reaching him. Then Liberato himself de- 
parted secretly and reached Perugia, but the sudden death of 
Boniface (October 11, 1303) frustrated his object. The rest re- 
turned at various times, Angelo being the last to reach Italy, in 
1305. He found his brethren in evil plight. They had been cited 
by the Dominican inquisitor, Tommaso di A versa, and had obedient- 
ly presented themselves. At first the result was favorable. After 
an examination lasting several days, Tommaso pronounced them 

* Angel. Clarin. Epist. (Archivfur Litt.- u. Kirchengeschichte, 1885, pp. 522-3, 
527-9) .—Hist. Tribulat. (Ibid. 1886, pp. 314-18).— Franz Ehrle (Ibid. 1886, p. 335. 

Franz Ehrle identifies the refuge of the Spirituals with the island of Trixonia 
in the Gulf of Corinth (Ibid. 1886, pp. 313-14). 


orthodox, and dismissed them, saying publicly, " Fra Liberato, I 
swear by Him who created me that never the flesh of a poor man 
could be sold for such a price as I could get for yours. Your 
brethren would drink your blood if they could." He even con- 
ducted them in safety back to their hermitages, and when the rage 
of the Conventuals was found to be unappeasable he gave them 
the advice that they should leave the kingdom of Xaples that night 
and travel by hidden ways to the pope ; if they could bring letters 
from the latter, or from a cardinal, he would defend them as long 
as he held the office. The advice was taken ; Liberato left Xaples 
that night, but fell sick on the road and died after a lingering ill- 
ness of two years. Meanwhile, as we shall see hereafter, the ex- 
ploits of Dolcino in Lombardy were exciting general terror, which 
rendered all irregular fraternities the object of suspicion and dread. 
The Conventuals took advantage of this and incited Fra Tommaso 
to summon before him all who wore unauthorized religious habits. 
The Spirituals were cited again, to the number of forty-two. and 
this time they did not escape so easily. They were condemned as 
heretics, and when Andrea da Segna. under whose protection they 
had lived, interposed in their favor, Tommaso carried them to Tri- 
vento. where they were tortured for five days. This excited the 
compassion of the bishop and nobles of the town, so they were 
transferred to Castro Mainardo, a solitary spot, where for five 
months they were afflicted with the sharpest torments. Two of 
the vouno-er brethren yielded and accused themselves and their 
comrades, but revoked when released. Some of them died, and 
finall v the survivors were ordered to be scourged naked through 
the streets of Naples and were banished the kingdom, although 
no specific heresy was alleged against them in the sentence. 
Through all this the resolution of the little band never faltered. 
Convinced that they alone were on the path of salvation, they 
would not be forced back into the Order. On the death of Liber- 
ato. Angelo was chosen as their leader, and amid persecution and 
obloquy they formed a congregation in the Mark of Ancona, 
known as the Clareni. from the surname of their chief, and under 
the protection of the cardinal, Xapoleone OrsinL* 

* Angel. Clarin. Epist. (op. cit. 1885, 529-31).— Hist. Tribulat. (lb. 1886, 320- 
6).— Wadding, ann. 1302, No. 8; 1307, No. 2-±. 


This group had not been by any means alone in opposing the 
laxity of the Conventuals, although it was the only one which suc- 
ceeded in throwing off the yoke of its opponents. The Spirituals 
were numerous in the Order, but the policy of Boniface VIII. led 
him to support the efforts of the Conventuals to keep them in sub- 
jection. Jacopone da Todi, the author of the Stabat Mater, was 
perhaps the most prominent of these, and his savage verses directed 
against the pope did not tend to harmonize the troubles. After 
the capture of Palestrina, in 1298, Boniface threw him into a foul 
dungeon, where he solaced his captivity with canticles full of the 
mystic ardor of divine love. It is related that Boniface once, pass- 
ing the grating of his cell, jeeringly called to him, " Jacopo, when 
will you get out V and was promptly answered, " When you come 
in." In a sense the prophecy proved true, for one of the first acts 
of Benedict XI., in December, 1303, was to release Jacopone from 
both prison and excommunication.* 

Fra Corrado da Offida was another prominent member of the 
Spiritual group. He had been a friend of John of Parma ; for fifty- 
five years he wore but a single gown, patched and repatched as 
necessity required, and this with his rope girdle constituted his 
sole worldly possessions. In the mystic exaltation which charac- 
terized the sect he had frequent visions and ecstasies, in which he 
was lifted from the ground after the fashion of the saints. When 
Liberato and his companions were in their Achaian refuge he 
designed joining them with Jacopo de' Monti and others, but the 
execution of the project was in some way prevented. f 

* Cantu, Eretici d' Italia, 1. 129.— Comba, La Riforma in Italia, I. 314. 

A specimen of Jacopone's attacks on Boniface will show the temper of the 

times — 

"Ponesti la tua lingua O pessiina avarizia 

Contra religione Sete induplicata, 

A dir blasfemia Bever tanta pecunia 

Senza niun cagione. E non esser saziata !" 

(Comba, op. cit. 312.) 

There is doubtless foundation for the story related by Savonarola in a sermon, 
that Jacopone was once brought into the consistory of cardinals and requested to 
preach, when he solemnly repeated thrice, "I wonder that in consequence of 
your sins the earth does not open and swallow you."— Villari, Fra Savonarola, 
II. Ed. T. II. p. 3. 

t Hist. Tribulat. (loc. cit. pp. 311-13). 


Such men, filled with the profoundest conviction of their holy 
calling, were not to be controlled by either kindness or severity. 
It was in vain that the general, Giovanni di Murro, at the chapter 
of 1302, held in Genoa, issued a precept deploring the abandonment, 
by the Order, of holy poverty, as shown by the possession of lands 
and farms and vineyards, and the assumption by friars of duties 
which involved them in worldly cares and strife and litigation. 
He ordered the sale of all property, and forbade the members of 
the Order from appearing in any court. Yet while he was thus 
rigid as to the ownership of property, he was lax as to its use, and 
condemned as pernicious the doctrine that the vow of poverty in- 
volved restriction in its enjoyment. He was, moreover, resolved on 
extinguishing the schism in the Order, and his influence with Boni- 
face was one of the impelling causes of the continued persecution 
of the Spirituals. They stubbornly rejected all attempts at recon- 
ciliation, and placed a true estimate on these efforts of reform. 
Before the year was out Giovanni was created Cardinal Bishop of 
Porto, and was allowed to govern the Order through a vicar ; the 
reforms were partially enforced in some provinces for a short time ; 
then they fell into desuetude, and matters went on as before.* 

In France, where the influence of Joachim and the Everlasting 
Gospel was much more lasting and pronounced than in Italy, the 
career of the Spirituals revolves around one of the most remark- 
able personages of the period — Pierre Jean Olivi. Born in 1247, 
he was placed in the Franciscan Order at the age of twelve, and 
was trained in the University of Paris, where he obtained the 
baccalaureate. His grave demeanor, seasoned with a lively wit, his 
irreproachable morals, his fervid eloquence, and the extent of his 
learning won for him universal respect, while his piety, gentleness, 
humility, and zeal for holy poverty gained for him a reputation 
for sanctity which assigned to him the gift of prophecy. That 
such a man should attach himself to the Spirituals was a matter of 
course, and equally so was the enmity which he excited by un- 
sparing reproof of the laxity of observance into which the Order 
had declined. In his voluminous writings he taught that absolute 

* Wadding, aim. 1302, No. 1-3, 7 ; ann. 1310, No. 9— Franz Ehrle (Arcbiv fiLr 
Litt.- U.K. 1886, p. 385). 


poverty is the source of all the virtues and of a saintly life ; that 
the Rule prohibited all proprietorship, whether individual or in com- 
mon, and that the vow bound the members to the most sparing use 
of all necessaries, the meanest garments, the absence of shoes, etc., 
while the pope had no power to dispense or absolve, and much less 
to order anything contrary to the Rule. The convent of Beziers, 
to which he belonged, became the centre of the Spiritual sect, and 
the devotion which he excited was shared by the population at 
large, as well as by his brethren. The temper of the man was 
shown when he underwent his first rebuke. In 1278 some writings 
of his in praise of the Virgin were considered to trench too close- 
ly on Mariolatry. The Order had not yet committed itself to 
this, and complaint was made to the general, Geronimo d'Ascoli, 
afterwards Nicholas IV., who read the tracts and condemned him 
to burn them with his own hands. Olivi at once obeyed without 
any sign of perturbation, and when his wondering brethren asked 
how he could endure such mortification so tranquilly, he replied 
that he had performed the sacrifice with a thoroughly placid mind ; 
he had not felt more pleasure in writing the tracts than in burn- 
ing them at the command of his superior, and the loss was noth- 
ing, for if necessary he could easily write them again in better 
shape. A man so self-centred and imperturbable could not fail to 
impress his convictions on those who surrounded him.* 

What his convictions really were is a problem not easily solved 
at the present day. The fierce antagonisms which he excited by 
his fiery onslaughts on individuals as well as on the general laxity 
of the Order at large, caused his later years to be passed in a series 
of investigations for heresy. At the general chapter of Strass- 
burg, in 1282, his writings were ordered to be examined. In 1283 
Bonagrazia di S. Giovanni, the general, came to France, collected 
and placed them all in the hands of seven of the leading members of 
the Order, who found in them propositions which they variously 

* Wadding, aim. 1278, No. 27-8.— Franz Ehrle, Archiv f. L. u. K. 1887, pp. 
505-11, 528-9. 

When Geronimo d'Ascoli attained the papacy he was urged to prosecute Olivi, 
but refused, expressing the highest consideration for his talents and piety, and 
declaring that his rebuke had been merely intended as a warning (Hist. Trib. 
loc. cit. 1886, p. 289). 


characterized as false, heretical, presumptuous, and dangerous, and 
ordered the tracts containing them to be surrendered by all pos- 
sessing them. Olivi subscribed to the judgment in 1284, although 
he complained that he had not been permitted to appear in person 
before his judges and explain the censured passages, to which 
distorted meanings had been applied. With some difficulty he 
procured copies of his inculpated writings and proceeded to justi- 
fy himself. Still the circle of his disciples continued to increase ; 
incapable of the self-restraint of their master, and secretly imbued 
with Joachitic doctrines, they were not content with the quiet 
propagation of their principles, but excited tumults and seditions. 
Olivi was held responsible. The chapter held at Milan in 1285 
elected as general minister Arlotto di Prato, one of the seven who 
had condemned him, and issued a decree ordering a strict perqui- 
sition and seizure of his writings. The new general, moreover, 
summoned him to Paris for another inquisition into his faith, 
of which the promoters were two of the members of the previous 
commission, Eichard Middleton and Giovanni di Murro, the future 
general. The matter was prolonged until 1286, when Arlotto 
died, and nothing was done. Matteo d'Acquasparta vouched for 
his orthodoxy in appointing him teacher in the general school of 
the Order at Florence. Eaymond Gaufridi, who succeeded Matteo 
d'Acquasparta in 1290, was a friend and admirer of Olivi, but could 
not prevent fresh proceedings, though he appointed him teacher 
at Montpellier. Excitement in Languedoc had reached a point 
which led Nicholas IV., in 1290, to order Eaymond to suppress 
the disturbers of the peace. He commissioned Bertrand de Cigo- 
tier, Inquisitor of the Comtat Yenaissin, to investigate and report, 
in order that the matter might be brought before the next gen- 
eral chapter, to be held in Paris. In 1292, accordingly, Olivi ap- 
peared before the chapter, professed his acceptance of the bull 
Exiit qui se?ninat, asserted that he had never intentionally taught 
or written otherwise, and revoked and abjured anything that he 
might inadvertently have said in contradiction of it. He was dis- 
missed in peace, but twenty-nine of his zealous and headstrong 
followers, whom Bertrand de Cigotier had found guilty, were duly 
punished. His few remaining years seem to have passed in com- 
parative peace. Two letters written in 1295, one to Corrado da 
Offida and the other to the sons of Charles II. of Xaples, then 


held as hostages in Catalonia, who had asked him to visit them, 
show that he was held in high esteem, that he desired to curb the 
fanatic zeal of the more advanced Spirituals, and that he could not 
restrain himself from apocalyptic speculation. On his deathbed, 
in 1298, he uttered a confession of faith in which he professed abso- 
lute submission to the Roman Church and to Boniface as its head. 
He also submitted all his works to the Holy See, and made a 
declaration of principles as to the matters in dispute within the 
Order, which contained nothing that Bonaventura would not have 
signed, or Nicholas III. would have impugned as contrary to the 
bull Exiit, although it sharply rebuked the money -getting prac- 
tices and relaxation of the Order. * 

He was honorably buried at Narbonne, and then the contro- 
versy over his memory became more lively than ever, rendering it 
almost impossible to determine his responsibility for the opinions , 
which were ascribed to him by both friends and foes. That his 
bones became the object of assiduous cult, in spite of repeated 
prohibitions, that innumerable miracles were worked at his tomb, 
that crowds of pilgrims flocked to it, that his feast-day became one 
of the great solemnities of the year, and that he was regarded as 
one of the most efficient saints in the calendar, only shows the 
popular estimate of his virtues and the zeal of those who regarded 

* Wadding, ann. 1282, No. 2 ; ann. 1283, No. 1 ; arm. 1285, No. 5 ; arm. 1290, 
No. 11 ; ann. 1292, No. 13 ; ann. 1297, No. 33-4.— Chron. Glassberger ann. 1283.— 
Hist. Tribulat. (loc. cit. pp. 294-5).— Franz Ehrle, Archiv, 1886, pp. 383, 389 ; 1887, 
pp. 417-27,429,433,438, 534.— Raym. de Fronciacho (Archiv, 1887, p. 15). 

Olivi's death is commonly assigned to 1297, but the Transitus Sancti Patris, 
which was one of the books most in vogue among his disciples, states that it 
occurred on Friday, March 14, 1297 (Bernard. Guidon. Practica P. v.); Friday 
fell on March 14 in 1298, and the common habit of commencing the year with 
Easter explains the substitution of 1297 for 1298. 

His bones are generally said to have been dug up and burned a few months 
after interment, by order of the general, Giovanni di Murro (Tocco, op. cit. p. 
503). Wadding, indeed, asserts that they were twice exhumed (ann. 1297, No. 
36). Eymerich mentions a tradition that they were carried to Avignon and thrown 
by night into the Rhone (Eymerici Direct. Inquis. p. 313). The cult of which 
they were the object shows that this could not have been the case, and Bernard 
Gui, the best possible authority, in commenting on the Transitus states that 
they were abstracted in 1318 and hidden no one knows where— doubtless by dis- 
ciples to prevent the impending profanation of exhumation. 


themselves as his disciples. Certain it is that the Council of Yienne, 
in 1312, treated his memory with great gentleness. While it con- 
demned with merciless severity the mystic extravagances of the 
Brethren of the Free Spirit, it found only four errors to note in 
the voluminous writings of Olivi — errors of merely speculative in- 
terest, such as are frequent among the schoolmen of the period — 
and these it pointed out without attributing them to him or even 
mentioning: his name. These his immediate followers denied his 
holding, although eventually one of them, curiously enough, be- 
came a sort of shibboleth among the Olivists. It was that Christ 
was still alive on the cross when pierced by the lance, and was 
based on the assertion that the relation in Matthew originally dif- 
fered in this respect from that in John, and had been altered to 
secure harmony. All other questions relating to the teachings of 
Olivi the council referred to the Franciscans for settlement, show- 
ing that they were deemed of minor importance, after they had 
been exhaustively debated before it by Bonagrazia da Bergamo in 
attack and Ubertino da Casale in defence. Thus the council con- 
demned neither his person nor his writings ; that the result was 
held as vindicating his orthodoxy was seen when, in 1313, his feast- 
day was celebrated with unexampled enthusiasm at aSarbonne, and 
was attended by a concourse equal to that which assembled at the 
anniversary of the Portiuncula. Moreover, after the heat of the 
controversy had passed away, the subsequent condemnation of his 
writings by John XXII. was removed by Sixtus IV., towards the 
end of the fifteenth century. Olivi's teachings may therefore fairly 
be concluded to have contained no very revolutionary doctrines. 
In fact, shortly after his death all the Franciscans of Provence 
were required to sign an abjuration of his errors, among which 
was enumerated the one respecting the wound of Christ, but noth- 
ing was said respecting the graver aberrations subsequently at- 
tributed to him.* 

* Wadding, ann. 1291, No. 13; 1297, No. 35; 1312, No. 4.— Lib. Sententt. 
Inq. Tolos. pp. 306, 319.— Coll. Doat. XXVII. fol. 7 sqq.-Lib. i. Clement, i. 1.— 
Tocco, op. cit. pp. 509-10.— MSS. Bib. Nat. No. 4270, fol. 168.— Franz Ehrle 
(ubi sup. 1885, p. 544 ; 1886, pp. 389-98, 402-5 ; 1887, pp. 449. 491).— Raymond de 
Fronciacho (Archiv, 18S7, p. 17). 

The traditional wrath of the Conventuals was still strong enough in the year 
1500 to lead the general chapter held at Terni to forbid, under pain of imprison- 


On the other hand he was unquestionably the heresiarch of the 
Spirituals, both of France and Italy, regarded by them as the di- 
lect successor of Joachim and Francis. The Historia Tribidationum 
finds in the pseud o-Joachitic prophecies a clear account of all the 
events in his career. Enthusiastic Spirituals, who held the revolu- 
tionary doctrines of the Everlasting Gospel, testified before the 
Inquisition that the third age of the Church had its beginning in 
Olivi, who thus supplanted St. Francis himself. He was inspired 
of heaven ; his doctrine had been revealed to him in Paris, some 
said, while he was washing his hands ; others that the illumination 
came to him from Christ while in church, at the third hour of 
the day. Thus his utterances were of equal authority with those 
of St. Paul, and were to be obeyed by the Church without the 
change of a letter. It is no wonder that he was held account- 
able for the extravagances of those who regarded him with such 
veneration and recognized him as their leader and teacher.* 

When Olivi died, his former prosecutor, Giovanni di Murro, 
was general of the Order, and, strong as were his own ascetic 
convictions, he lost no time in completing the work which he had 
previously failed to accomplish. Olivi's memory was condemned 
as that of a heretic, and an order was issued for the surrender 
of all his writings, which was enforced with unsparing rigor, and 
continued by his successor, Gonsalvo de Balboa. Pons Botugati, 
a friar eminent for piety and eloquence, refused to surrender for 
burning some of the prohibited tracts, and was chained closely to 
the wall in a damp and fetid dungeon, where bread and water 
were sparingly flung to him, and where he soon rotted to death 
in filth, so that when his body was hastily thrust into an uncon- 
secrated grave it was found that already the flesh was burrowed 
through by worms. A number of other recalcitrants were also 
imprisoned with almost equal harshness, and in the next general 
chapter the reading of all of Olivi's works was formally prohibited. 
That much iucendiary matter was in circulation, attributed direct- 
ly or indirectly to him, is shown by a catalogue of Olivist tracts, 
treating of such dangerous questions as the power of the pope to 

ment, any member of the Order from possessing any of Olivi's writings. — Franz 
Ehrle (ubi sup. 1887, pp. 457-8). 

* Hist. Tribulat. (loc. cit. p t S88-9).— Coll. Doat, XXVII. fol. 7 sqq.— Lib. 
Sententt. Inq. Tolos. pp. 306, 308. — Bernard. Guidon. Practica P. T. 


dispense from vows, his right to claim implicit obedience in mat- 
ters concerning faith and morals, and other similar mutterings of 


The work of Olivi which called forth the greatest discussion, 
and as to which the evidences are peculiarly irreconcilable, was 
his Postil on the Apocalypse. It was from this that the chief 
arguments were drawn for his condemnation. In an inquisitorial 
sentence of 1318 we learn that his writings were then again under 
examination by order of John XXII. ; that they were held to be 
the source of all the errors which the sectaries were then expiating 
at the stake, and that principal among them was his work on the 
Apocalypse, so that, until the papal decision, no one was to hold 
him as a saint or a Catholic. When the condemnatory report of 
eight masters of theology came, in 131 ( J, the Spirituals held that 
the outrage thus committed on the faith deprived of all virtue the 
sacrament of the altar. Xo formal judgment was rendered, how- 
ever, until February 8, 1326, when John XXII. finally condemned 
the Postil on the Apocalypse after a careful scrutiny in the Con- 
sistory, and the general chapter of the Order forbade any one to 
read or possess it. One of the reports of the experts upon it has 
reached us. It is impossible to suppose that they deliberately 
manufactured the extracts on which their conclusions are based, 
and these extracts are quite sufficient to show that the work was 
an echo of the most dangerous doctrines of the Everlasting Gos- 
pel. The fifth age is drawing to an end, and, under the figure of 
the mystical Antichrist, there are prophecies about the pseudo-pope, 
pseudo-Christs, and pseudo-prophets in terms which clearly allude 
to the existing hierarchy. The pseudo-pope will be known by his 
heresies concerning the perfection of evangelical poverty (as we 
shall see was the case with John XXII. ), and the pseudo-Joachim's 
prophecies concerning Frederic II. are quoted to show how prel- 
ates and clergy who defend the Rule will be ejected. The carnal 
church is the Great AYhore of Babylon ; it makes drunken and 

* Hist. Tribulat. (loc. cit. pp. 300-1).— Tocco, pp. 489-91, 503-4. 

Wadding (arm. 1297, No. 33-5) identifies Pons Botugati with St. Pons Car- 
bonelh, the illustrious teacher of St. Louis of Toulouse. Franz Ehrle (Archiv 
fur L. u. K. 1886, p. 300) says he can find no evidence of this, and the author 
of the Hist. Tribulat., in his detailed account of the affair, would hardly have 
omitted a fact so serviceable to his cause. 


corrupts the nations with its carnalities, and oppresses the few 
remaining righteous, as under Paganism it did with its idolatries. 
In forty generations from the harvest of the apostles there will 
be a new harvest of the Jews and of the whole world, to be gar- 
nered by the Evangelical Order, to which all power and authority 
will be transferred. There are to be a sixth and a seventh a^e, 
after which comes the Day of Judgment. The date of this latter 
cannot be computed, but at the end of the thirteenth century the 
sixth age is to open. The carnal church, or Babylon, will expire, 
and the triumph of the spiritual church will commence.* 

It has been customary for historians to assume that this resur- 
rection of the Everlasting Gospel was Olivi's Work, though it is 
evident from the closing years of his career that he could not have 
been guilty of uttering such inflammatory doctrines, and this is 
confirmed by the silence of the Council of Yienne concerning 
them, although it condemned his other trifling errors after a thor- 
ough debate on the subject by his enemies and friends. In fact, 
Bonagrazia, in the name of the Conventuals, bitterly attacked his 
memory and adduced a long list of his errors, including cursorily 
certain false and fantastic prophecies in the Postil on the Apoca- 
lypse and his stigmatizing the Church as the Great Whore. Had 
such passages as the above existed they would have been set forth 
at length and defence would have been impossible. Ubertino in 
reply, however, boldly characterized the assertion as most menda- 
cious and impious ; Olivi, he declared, had always spoken most 
reverently of the Church and Holy See ; the Postil itself closed 
with a submission to the Roman Church as the universal mistress, 
and in the body of the work the Holy See was repeatedly alluded 
to as the seat of God and of Christ ; the Church Militant and the 
Church Triumphant are spoken of as the seats of God which will 
last to the end, while the reprobate are Babylon and the Great 
Whore. It is impossible that Ubertino can have quoted these pas- 
sages falsely, for Bonagrazia would have readily overwhelmed him 
with confusion, and the Council of Yienne would have rendered a 
far different judgment. We know from undoubted sources that 

* Baluz. et Mansi II. 249-50.— Bern. Guidon. Pract. P. v.— Doat, XXVII. 
fol. 7 sqq.— Bern. Guidon. Vit. Johann. PP. XXII. (Muratori S. R. I. III. 11 
491). — Wadding, ann. 1325, No. 4.— Alvar. Pelag. de Planctu Eccles. Lib. 11. art. 
59.— Baluz. et Mansi II. 266-70. 
III.— 4 


the revolutionary doctrines commonly attributed to Olivi were 
entertained by those who considered themselves and were consid- 
ered to be his disciples, and we can only assume that in their mis- 
guided zeal they interpolated his Postil, and gave to their own 
mystic dreams the authority of his great name.* 

After the death of Olivi the Franciscan officials seem to have 
felt themselves unable to suppress the sect which was spreading 
and organizing throughout Languedoc. For some reason not ap- 
parent, unless it may have been jealousy of the Dominicans, the 
aid of the Inquisition was not called in, and the inquisitors with- 
held their hands from offenders of the rival Order. The regular 
church authorities, however, were appealed to, and in 1299 Gilles, 
Archbishop of Xarbonne, held at Beziers a provincial synod, in 
which were condemned the Beguines of both sexes who under the 
lead of learned men of an honorable Order (the Franciscans) en- 
gaged in religious exercises not prescribed by the Church, wore 
vestments distinguishing them from other folk, performed novel 
penances and abstinences, administered vows of chastity, often 
not observed, held nocturnal conventicles, frequented heretics, and 
proclaimed that the end of the world was at hand, and that already 
the reign of Antichrist had begun. From them many scandals 
had already arisen, and there was danger of more and greater 
troubles. The bishops were therefore ordered, in their several 
dioceses, to investigate these sectaries closely and to suppress them. 
We see from this that there was rapidly growing up a new heresy 
based upon the Everlasting Gospel, with the stricter Franciscans 
as a nucleus, but extending among the people. For this popular 
propaganda the Tertiary Order afforded peculiar facilities, and 
we shall find hereafter that the Beguines, as they were generally 
called, were to a great extent Tertiaries, when not full members 
of the Order. There was nothing, however, to tempt the cupidity 

* Franz Ehrle (Archiv f. L. u. K. 1886, pp. 368-70. 407-9) —Wadding, ann< 
1297, No. 36-47.— Baluz. et Mansi II. 276. 

Tocco (Archivio Storico Italiano, T. XVII. No. 2.— Cf. Franz Ehrle, Archiv 
fur L. u. K. 1887, p. 493) has recently found in the Laurentian Library a MS. of 
Olivi's Postil on the Apocalypse. It contains all the passages cited in the con- 
demnation, showing that the commission which sat in judgment did not invent 
them, but as it is of the fifteenth century it does not invalidate the suggestion 
that his followers interpolated his work after his death. 


of the episcopal officials to the prosecution of those whose princi- 
pal belief consisted in the renunciation of all worldly goods, and 
it is not likely that they showed themselves more diligent in their 
duties than we have seen them when greater interests were at 
stake. The action of the council may therefore be safely assumed 
as wasted, except as justifying persecution within the Order. The 
lay Beguines doubtless enjoyed practical immunity, while the 
Spiritual Friars continued to endure the miseries at the hands of 
their superiors for which monastic life afforded such abundant 
opportunities. Thus, at Villefranche, when Raymond Auriole 
and Jean Prime refused to admit that their vows permitted a 
liberal use of the things of the world, they were imprisoned in 
chains and starved till Raymond died, deprived of the sacraments 
as a heretic, and Jean barely escaped with his life.* 

Thus passed away the unfortunate thirteenth century — that 
age of lofty aspirations unfulfilled, of brilliant dreams unsubstan- 
tial as visions, of hopes ever looking to fruition and ever disap- 
pointed. The human intellect had awakened, but as yet the hu- 
man conscience slumbered, save in a few rare souls who mostly 
paid in disgrace or death the penalty of their precocious sensitive- 
ness. That wonderful century passed away and left as its legacy 
to its successor vast progress, indeed, in intellectual activity, but 
on the spiritual side of the inheritance a dreary void. All efforts 
to elevate the ideals of man had miserably failed. Society was 
harder and coarser, more carnal and more worldly than ever, and 
it is not too much to say that the Inquisition had done its full 
share to bring this about by punishing aspirations, and by teach- 
ing that the only safety lay in mechanical conformity, regardless 
of abuses and unmindful of corruption. The results of that hun- 
dred years of effort and suffering are well symbolized in the two 
popes with whom it began and ended — Innocent III. and that 
pinchbeck Innocent, Boniface VIII., who, in the popular phrase 
of the time, came in like a fox, ruled like a lion, and died like 
a dog. In intellect and learning Boniface was superior to his 
model, in imperious pride his equal, in earnestness, in self-devo- 

* Concil. Biterrens. ann. 1299 c. 4 (Martene Thesaur. IV. 220).— Ubertini 
Declaratio (Archiv f. Litt.- u. K. 1887, pp. 183-4). 


tion, in loftiness of aim, in all that dignifies ambition, immeasura- 
bly his inferior. It is no wonder that the apocalyptic specula- 
tions of Joachim should acquire .fresh hold on the minds of those 
who could not reconcile the spiritual desert in which they lived 
with their conception of the merciful providence of God. To such 
men it seemed impossible that he could permit a continuance of 
the cruel wickedness which pervaded the Church, and through it 
infected society at large. This was plainly beyond the power of 
a few earnest zealots to cure, or even to mitigate, so the divine 
interposition was requisite to create a new earth, inhabited only 
bv the few virtuous Elect, under a reign of ascetic poverty and 
all-embracing love. 

One of the most energetic and impetuous missionaries of these 
beliefs was Arnaldo de Yilanova, in some respects, perhaps, the 
most remarkable man of his time, whom we have onlv of late 
learned to know thoroughly, from the researches of Seilor Pelayo. 
As a physician he stood unrivalled. Kings and popes disputed 
his services, and his voluminous writings on medicine and hygiene 
were reprinted m collective editions six times during the sixteenth 
century, besides numerous issues of special treatises. As a chem- 
ist he is more doubtfully said to have left his mark in several 
useful discoveries. As an alchemist he had the repute of pro- 
ducing ingots of gold in the court of Robert of Xaples, a great 
patron of the science, and his treatises on the subject were in- 
cluded in collections of such works printed as lately as the eight- 
eenth century. A student of both Arabic and Hebrew, he trans- 
lated from Costa ben Luca treatises on incantations, ligatures, and 
other magic devices. He wrote on astronomy and on oneiro- 
mancy, for he was an expert expounder of dreams, and also on 
surveying and wine-making. He draughted laws for Frederic of 
Trinacria which that enlightened monarch promulgated and en- 
forced, and his advice to Frederic and his brother Jayme II. of 
Aragon on their duties as monarchs stamps him as a conscientious 
statesman. AVhen Jayme applied to him for the explanation of a 
mysterious dream he not only satisfied the king with his exposi- 
tion, but proceeded to warn him that his chief duty lay in admin- 
istering justice, first to the poor, and then to the rich. When 
asked how often he gave audience to the poor, Jayme answered, 
once a week, and also when he rode out for pleasure. Arnaldo 


sternly reproved him; he was earning damnation; the rich had 
access to him every day, morning, noon, and night, the poor but 
seldom ; he made of God the hog of St. Anthony, which received 
only the refuse rejected by all. If he wished to earn salvation he 
must devote himself to the welfare of the poor, without which, in 
spite of the teachings of the Church, neither psalms, nor masses, 
nor fasting, nor even alms would suffice. To Jayme he was not 
only physician but counsellor, venerable and much beloved, and 
he was repeatedly employed on diplomatic missions by the kings 
of both Aragon and Sicily.* 

Multifarious as were these occupations, they consumed but a 
portion of his restless activity. In dedicating to Robert of Naples 
his treatise on surveying, he describes himself — 

" Yeu, Arnaut de Vilanova . . . 
Doctor en leys et eu decrets, 
Et en siensa de strolomia, 
Et en Tart de medicina, 
Et en la santa teulogia " — 

and, although a layman, married, and a father, his favorite field of 
labor was theology, which he had studied with the Dominicans of 
Montpellier. In 1292 he commenced with a work on the Tetra- 
grammaton, or ineffable name of Jehovah, in which he sought to 
explain by natural reasons the mystery of the Trinity. Embarked 
in such speculations he soon became a confirmed Joachite. To a 
man of his lofty spiritual tendencies and tender compassion for his 
fellows, the wickedness and cruelty of mankind were appalling, and 
especially the crimes of the clergy, among whom he reckoned the 
Mendicants as the worst. Their vices he lashed unsparingly, and 
he naturally fell in with the speculations of the pseudo-Joachitic 
writings, anticipating the speedy advent of Antichrist and the Day 
of Judgment. In numberless works composed in both Latin and 
the vernacular he commented upon and popularized the Joachitic 
books, even going so far as to declare that the revelation of Cyril 
was more precious than all Scripture. Such a man naturally 
sympathized with the persecuted Spirituals. He boldly undertook 
their defence in sundry tracts, and when, in 1309, Frederic of Tri- 

* Pelayo, Heterodoxos Espanoles, I. 450-61, 475, 590-1, 726-7, 772.— M. Flac. 
Illyr. Cat. Test. Veritatis, pp. 1732 sqq. (Ed. 1603). 


nacria applied to him to expound his dream,he seized the opportunity 
to invoke the monarch's commiseration for their sufferings, by ex- 
plaining to him how, when they sought to appeal to the Holy See, 
their brethren persecuted and slew them, and how evangelical pov- 
erty was treated as the gravest of crimes. He used his influence 
similarly at the court of jSTaples, thus providing for them, as we 
shall see, a place of refuge in their necessity.* 

With his impulsive temperament it was impossible for him to 
hold aloof from the bitter strife then raging. Before the thir- 
teenth century was out he addressed letters to the Dominicans and 
Franciscans of Paris and MontpeUier, to the Kings of France and 
Aragon, and even to the Sacred College, announcing the approach- 
ing end of the world ; the wicked Catholics, and especially the 
clergy, were the members of the coming Antichrist. This aroused 
an active controversy, in which neither party spared the other. 
After a war of tracts the Catalan Dominicans formally accused 
him before the Bishop of Girona, and he responded that they had 
no standing in court, as they were heretics and madmen, dogs and 
jugglers, and he cited them to appear before the pope by the fol- 
lowing Lent. It could only have been the royal favor which pre- 
served him from the fate at the stake of many a less audacious 
controversialist ; and when, in 1300, King Jayme sent him on a mis- 
sion to Philippe le Bel, he boldly laid his work on the advent of 
Antichrist before the University of Paris. The theologians looked 
askance on it, and, in spite of his ambassadorial immunity, on the 
eve of his return he was arrested without warning by the episco- 
pal Official. The Archbishop of Xarbonne interposed in vain, and 
he was bailed out on security of three thousand livres, furnished by 
the Yiscount of Xarbonne and other friends. Brought before the 
masters of theology, he was forced by threats of imprisonment to 
recant upon the spot, without being allowed to defend himself, 
and one can well believe his statement that one of his most eaerer 
judges was a Franciscan, whose zeal was doubtless inflamed by the 
portentous appearance of another Olivi from the prolific South.f 

A formal appeal to Boniface was followed by a personal visit 

* Pelayo, I. 454, 458, 464-6, 468-9, 730-1, 779.— Franz EUrle, Archiv fur Litt.- 
und Kirchengesclnchte, 1886, 327-8. 
t Pelayo, I. 460, 464-8, 739-45. 


to the papal court. Received at first with jeers, his obstinacy pro- 
voked repression. As a relapsed, he might have been burned, but 
he was onty imprisoned and forced to a second recantation, in 
spite of which Philippe le Bel, at the assembly of the Louvre in 
1303, in his charges of heresy against Boniface asserted that the 
pope had approved a book of Arnaldo's which had already been 
burned by himself and by the University of Paris. Boniface, in 
fact, in releasing him, imposed on him silence on theologic matters, 
though appreciating his medical skill and appointing him papal 
physician. For a Avhile he kept his peace, but a call from heaven 
forced him to renewed activity, and he solemnly warned Boniface 
of the divine vengeance if he remained insensible to the duty 
of averting the wrath to come by a thorough reformation of the 
Church. The catastrophe of Anagni soon followed, and Arnaldo, 
who had left the papal court, naturally regarded it as a confirma- 
tion of his prophecy, and looked upon himself as an envoy of God. 
"With a fierce denunciation of clerical corruptions he repeated the 
warning to Benedict XL, who responded by imposing a penance 
on him and seizing all his apocalyptic tracts. In about a month 
Benedict, too, was dead, and Arnaldo announced that a third mes- 
sage would be sent to his successor, " though when and by whom 
has not been revealed to me, but I know that if he heeds it divine 
power will adorn him with its sublimest gifts ; if he rejects it, God 
will visit him with a judgment so terrible that it will be a wonder 
to all the earth." * 

For some years we know nothing of his movements, although 
his fertile pen was busily employed with little intermission, and the 
Church vainly endeavored to suppress his writings. In 1305 Fray 
Guillermo, Inquisitor of Valencia, excommunicated and ejected 
from church Gambaldo de Pilis, a servant of King Jayme, for 
possessing and circulating them. The king applied to Guillermo 
for his reasons, and, on being refused, angrily wrote to Eymerich, 
the Dominican general. He declared that Arnaldo's writings were 

* Pelayo, I. 470-4, 729, 734.— D'Argentre I. 11. 417.— Du Puy, Histoire du 
Differend, Pr. 103. 

One of the charges against Bernard DSlicieux, in 1319, was that of sending to 
Arnaldo certain magic writings to encompass the death of Benedict A witness 
was found to swear that this was the cause of Benedict's death. — MSS- Bib. Nat., 
fonds latin, No. 4270, fol. 12, 50, 51, 61 


eagerlv read by himself, his queen and his children, by archbishops 
and bishops, by the clergy and the laity. He demanded that the 
sentence be revoked as uncanonical, else he would punish Fray 
Guillermo severely and visit with his displeasure all the Domini- 
cans of his dominions. It was probably this royal favor which 
saved Arnaldo when he came near being burned at Santa Christina, 
and escaped with no worse infliction than being stigmatized as a 
necromancer and enchanter, a heretic and a pope of the heretics.* 
When the persecution of the Spirituals of Provence was at its 
height. Arnaldo procured from Charles the Lame of Naples, who 
was also Count of Provence, a letter to the general, Gerald, which 
for a time put a stop to it. In 1309 we find him at Avignon, on 
a mission from Jayme II., well received by Clement V., who 
prized highly his skill as a physician. He used effectively this po- 
sition by secretly persuading the pope to send for the leaders of 
the Spirituals, in order to learn from them orally and in writing of 
what they complained and what reformation they desired in their 
Order. With regard to his own affairs he was not so fortunate. 
At a public hearing before the pope and cardinals, in October, 
1309, he predicted the end of the world within the century, and 
the advent of Antichrist within its first forty years ; he dwelt at 
much length on the depravity of clergy and laity, and complained 
bitterly of the persecution of those who desired to live in evan- 
gelical poverty. All this was to be expected of him, but he added 
the incredible indiscretion of reading a detailed account of the 
dreams of Jayme II. and Frederic of Trinacria, their doubts and 
his explanations and exhortations — matters, all of them, as sacredly 
confidential as the confession of a penitent. Cardinal Xapoleone 
Orsini, the protector of the Spirituals, wrote to Jayme congratu- 
lating him on his piety as revealed by that wise and illuminated 
man, inflamed with the love of God, Master Arnaldo, but this ef- 
fort to conjure the tempest was unavailing. The Cardinal of 
Porto and Ramon Ortiz, Dominican Provincial of Aragon, promptly 
reported to Jayme that he and his brother had been represented as 
wavering in the faith and as believers in dreams, and advised him 
no longer to employ as his envoy such a heretic as Arnaldo. 
Jayme' s pride was deeply wounded. It was in vain that Clement 

Pelayo, I. 481, 772. 


assured him that he had paid no attention to Arnaldo's discourse ; 
the king wrote to the pope and cardinals and to his brother deny- 
ing the story of his dream and treating Arnaldo as an impostor. 
Frederic was less susceptible : he wrote to Jayme that the story 
could do them no harm, and that the real infamy would lie in 
abandoning Arnaldo in his hour of peril. Arnaldo took refuge 
with him, and not long afterwards was sent by him again to Avi- 
gnon on a mission, but perished during the voyage. The exact date 
of his death is unknown, but it was prior to February, 1311. For 
selfish reasons Clement mourned his loss, and issued a bull an- 
nouncing that Arnaldo had been his physician and had promised 
him a most useful book which he had written ; he had died with- 
out doing so, and now Clement summoned any one possessing the 
precious volume to deliver it to him."* 

The interposition of Arnaldo offered to the Spirituals an un- 
expected prospect of deliverance. From Languedoc to Venice and 
Florence they were enduring the bitterest persecution from their 
superiors ; they were cast into dungeons where they starved to 
death, and were exposed to the infinite trials for which monastic 
life afforded such abundant opportunities, when Arnaldo persuaded 
Clement to make an energetic effort to heal the schism in the Or- 
der and to silence the accusations which the Conventuals brought 
against their brethren. An occasion was found in an appeal from 
the citizens of Narbonne setting forth that the books of Olivi had 
been unjustly condemned, that the Rule of the Order was disre- 
garded, and those who observed it were persecuted, and further 
praying that a special cult of Olivi's remains might be permitted. 
A commission of important personages was formed to investigate 
the faith of Angelo da Clarino and his disciples, who still dwelt in 
the neighborhood of Rome, and who were pronounced good Catho- 
lics. Such leading Spirituals as Raymond Gaufridi, the former 
general, Ubertino da Casale, the intellectual leader of the sect, 
Raymond de Giniac, former Provincial of Aragon, Gui de Mire- 
poix, Bartolommeo Sicardi, and others were summoned to Avignon, 

* Hist. Tribulationum (Archiv fur Litt.- u. K. 1386, 1. 129).— Pelayo, I. 481- 
3. 773, 776.— Wadding, aim. 1312, No. 7.— Cf. Trithem. Chron. Hirsaug. ami. 
1310; P e Langii Chron. Citicens. ann. 1320. 


where they were ordered to draw up in writing the points which 
they deemed requisite for the reformation of the Order. To en- 
able them to perform this duty in safety they were taken under 
papal protection by a bull which shows in its minute specifications 
how real were the perils incurred by those who sought to restore 
the Order to its primitive purity. Apparently stimulated by these 
warnings, the general, Gonsalvo, at the Chapter of Padua in 1310, 
caused the adoption of many regulations to diminish the luxury 
and remove the abuses which pervaded the Order, but the evil was 
too deep-seated. He was resolved, moreover, on reducing the Spir- 
ituals to obedience, and the hatred between the two parties grew 
bitterer than ever.* 

The articles of complaint, thirty-five in number, which the 
Spirituals laid before Clement V. in obedience to his commands 
formed a terrible indictment of the laxity and corruption which 
had crept into the Order. It was answered but feebly by the Con- 
ventuals, partly by denying its allegations, partly by dialectical 
subtleties to prove that the Kule did not mean what it said, and 
partly by accusing the Spirituals of heresy. Clement appointed a 
commission of cardinals and theologians to hear both sides. For 
two years the contest raged with the utmost fury. During its con- 
tinuance Eaymond Gaufridi, Gui de Mirepoix, and Bartolommeo 
Sicardi died — poisoned by their adversaries, according to one ac- 
count, worn out with ill-treatment and insult according to another. 
Clement had temporarily released the delegates of the Spirituals 
from the jurisdiction of their enemies, who had the audacity, 
March 1, 1311, to enter a formal protest against his action, alleg- 
ing that they were excommunicated heretics under trial, who 
could not be thus protected. In this prolonged discussion the 
opposing leaders were Ubertino da Casale and Bonagrazia (Bon- 

# Franz Ehrle (Archiv fur Litt.- u. K. 1886, pp. 380-1, 384, 386 ; 1887, p. 36).— 
Rayrn. de Fronciacho (lb. 1887, p. 18).— Eymerich p. 316.— Angeli Clarini Litt. 
Excus. (Archiv, 1885, pp. 531-2).— Wadding, ann. 1210, No, 6.— Regest. Clem- 
ent. PP. V. T. V. pp. 379 sqq. Romas, 1887). 

At the same time that the general, Gonsalvo, was seeking to repress the ac- 
quisitiveness of the friars they were procuring from the Emperor Henry VII. a 
decree annulling a local statute of Nuremberg which forbade any citizen from 
giving them more than a single gold piece at a time, or a measure of corn.— 
Chron. Glassberger ann. 1310. 


cortese) da Bergamo. The former, while absorbed in devotion on 
Mont' Alverno, the scene of St. Francis's transfiguration, had been 
anointed by Christ and raised to a lofty degree of spiritual insight. 
His reputation is illustrated by the story that while laboring with 
much success in Tuscany he had been summoned to Rome by 
Benedict XL to answer some accusations brought against him. 
Soon afterwards the people of Perugia sent a solemn embassy to 
the pope with two requests — one that Ubertino be restored to 
them, the other that the pope and cardinals would reside in their 
city — whereat Benedict smiled and said, " I see you love us but a 
little, since you prefer Fra Ubertino to us." He was a Joachite, 
moreover, who did not hesitate to characterize the abdication of 
Celestin as a horrible innovation, and the accession of Boniface as 
a usurpation. Bonagrazia was perhaps superior to his opponent 
in learning and not his inferior in steadfast devotion to what he 
deemed the truth, though Ubertino characterized him as a lay 
novice, skilled in the cunning tricks of the law. We shall see 
hereafter his readiness to endure persecution in defence of his own 
ideal of poverty ; and the antagonism of two such men upon the 
points at issue between them is the most striking illustration of 
the impracticable nature of the questions which raised so heated a 
strife and cost so much blood. * 

The Spirituals failed in their efforts to obtain a decree of sepa- 
ration which should enable them, in peace, to live according to their 
interpretation of the Rule, but in other respects the decision of 
the commission was wholly in their favor, in spite of the persist- 
ent effort of the Conventuals to divert attention from the real 
questions at issue to the assumed errors of Olivi. Clement ac- 
cepted the decision, and in full consistory, in presence of both 
parties, ordered them to live in mutual love and charity, to bury 
the past in oblivion, and not to insult each other for past differ- 
ences. Ubertino replied, " Holy Father, they call us heretics and 
defenders of heresy ; there are whole books full of this in your ar- 
chives and those of the Order. They must either allege these things 

* Archiv fur L. u. K. 1887, pp. 93 sqq.— Hist. Tribulat. (Ibid. 1886, pp. 130, 
132-4).— Ehrle (Ibid. 1866, pp. 366, 380).— Wadding, ann. 1310, No. 1-5.— Chron. 
Glassberger ann. 1310. — Ubertini de Casali Tract, de septem Statibus Ecclesiae 
c. iv. 


and let us defend ourselves, or they must recall them. Otherwise 
there can be no peace between us." To this Clement rejoined, 
" We declare as pope, that from what has been stated on both 
sides before us, no one ought to call you heretics and defenders 
of heresv. What exists to that effect in our archives or elsewhere 
we wholly erase and pronounce to be of no validity against you." 
The result was seen in the Council of Yienne (1311-12), which 
adopted the canon known as Exivi de Paradiso, designed to settle 
forever the controversy which had lasted so long. Angelo da 
Clarino declares that this was based wholly upon the propositions 
of Ubertino ; that it was the crowning victory of the Spirituals, 
and his heart overflows with joy when he communicates the good 
news to his brethren. It determined, he says, eighty questions 
concerning the interpretation of the Kule ; hereafter those who 
serve the Lord in hermitages and are obedient to their bishops 
are secured against molestation by any person. The inquisitors, 
he further stated, were placed under control of the bishops, which 
he evidently regarded as a matter of special importance, for in 
Provence and Tuscany the Inquisition was Franciscan, and thus 
in the hands of the Conventuals. We have seen that Clement 
delayed issuing the decrees of the council. He was on the point 
of doing so, after careful revision, when his death, in 131-1, fol- 
lowed by a long interregnum, caused a further postponement. 
John XXII. was elected in August, 1316, but he, too, desired time 
for further revision, and it was not until November, 1317, that the 
canons were finally issued. That they underwent change in this 
process is more than probable, and the canon Exivi de Paradiso 
was on a subject peculiarly provocative of alteration. As it has 
reached us it certainly does not justify Angelo's paean of tri- 
umph. It is true that it insists on a more rigid compliance 
with the Rule. It forbids the placing of coffers in churches for 
the collection of money ; it pronounces the friars incapable of 
enjoying inheritances ; it deprecates the building of magnificent 
churches, and convents which are rather palaces ; it prohibits the 
acquisition of extensive gardens and great vineyards, and even 
the storing up of granaries of corn and cellars of wine where the 
brethren can live from day to day by beggary ; it declares that 
whatever is given to the Order belongs to the Church of Rome, 
and that the friars have only the use of it, for they can hold noth- 


ing, either individually or in common. In short, it fully justified 
the complaints of the Spirituals and interpreted the Rule in ac- 
cordance with their views, but it did not, as Angelo claimed, al- 
low them to live by themselves in peace, and it subjected them to 
their superiors. This was to remand them into slavery, as the 
great majority of the Order were Conventuals, jealous of the as- 
sumption of superior sanctity by the Spirituals, and irritated by 
their defeat and by the threatened enforcement of the Eule in all 
its rigidity. This spirit was still further inflamed by the action 
of the general, Gonsalvo, who zealously set to work to carry out 
the reforms prescribed by the canon Exivi. He traversed the 
various provinces, pulling down costly buildings and compelling 
the return of gifts and legacies to donors and heirs. This excited 
great indignation among the laxer brethren, and his speedy death, 
in 1313, was attributed to foul play. The election of his succes- 
sor, Alessandro da Alessandria, one of the most earnest of the 
Conventuals, showed that the Order at large was not disposed to 
submit quietly to pope and council.* 

As might have been expected, the strife between the parties 
became bitterer than ever. Clement's leaning in favor of asceti- 
cism is shown by his canonization, in 1313, of Celestin V., but when 
the Spirituals applied to him for protection against their brethren 
he contented himself with ordering them to return to their con- 
vents and commanding them to be kindly treated. These com- 
mands were disregarded. Mutual hatreds were too strong for 
power not to be abused. Clement did his best to force the Con- 
ventuals to submission; as early as July, 1311, he had ordered 
Bonagrazia to betake himself to the convent of Yalcabrere in 
Comminges, and not to leave it without special papal license. At 
the same time he summoned before him Guiraud Yallette, the 
Provincial of Provence, and fifteen of the principal officials of the 
Order throughout the south of France, who were regarded as the 
leaders in the oppression of the Spirituals. In public consistory 

* Ubertini Responsio (Archiv fur L. u. K. 1887, p. 87). — Baluz. et Mansi II. 
278.— Franz Ebrle (Archiv fur L. n. K. 1885, pp. 541-2, 545 ; 1886, p. 362).— 
Hist. Tribulat. (Ibid. 1886, pp. 138-41).— C. 1, Clement, v. 11.— Wadding, ann. 
1312, No. 9; ann. 1313, No. 1.— Chrou. Glassberger ann. 1312.— Alvar. Pelag. de 
Planet. Eccles. Lib. n. art. 67. 


he repeated his commands, scolded them for disobedience and re- 
bellion, dismissed from office those who had positions, and declared 
ineligible those who were not officials. Those whom he ejected he 
replaced with suitable persons whom he strictly commanded to 
preserve the peace and show favor to the sorely afflicted minority. 
In spite of this the scandals and complaints continued, until the 
general, Alessandro, granted to the Spirituals the three convents 
of Xarbonne, Beziers, and Carcassonne, and ordered that the 
superiors placed over them should be acceptable. The change 
was not effected without the employment of force, in which the 
Spirituals had the advantage of popular sympathy, and the con- 
vents thus favored became houses of refuge for the discontented 
brethren elsewhere. Then for a while there seems to have been 
quiet, but with Clement ? s death, in 1314, the turmoil commenced 
afresh. Bonagrazia, under pretext of sickness, hastened to leave 
his place of confinement, and joined eagerly in the renewed dis- 
turbance ; the dismissed officials again made their influence felt ; 
the Spirituals complained that they were abused and defamed in 
private and in public, pelted with mud and stones, deprived of 
food and even of the sacraments, despoiled of their habits, and 
scattered to distant places or imprisoned.* 

It is possible that Clement might have found some means of 
dissolving the bonds between these irreconcilable parties, but for 
the insubordination of the Italian Spirituals. These grew impa- 
tient during the long conferences which preceded the Council 
of Yienne. Subjected to daily afflictions and despairing of rest 
within the Order, they eagerly listened to the advice of a wise and 
holy man, Canon Martin of Siena, who assured them that, how- 
ever few their numbers, they had a right to secede and elect their 
own general. Under the lead of Giacopo di San Gemignano they 
did so, and effected an independent organization. This was rank 
rebellion and greatly prejudiced the case of the Spirituals at Avig- 
non. Clement would not listen to anything that savored of con- 
cessions to those w r ho thus threw off their pledged obedience. He 
promptly sent commissions for their trial, and they were duly ex- 

# Jordan. CI iron. c. 326 Partic. iii. (Muratori Antiq. XI. 767).— Hist. Tribulat. 
(Archiv, 1886, 140-1).— Franz Ehrle (Ibid. 1886, pp. 158-64; 1887, pp. 33, 40).— 
Rayni. de Fronciacho (lb. 1887, p. 27). 


communicated as schismatics and rebels, founders of a supersti- 
tious sect, and disseminators of false and pestiferous doctrines. 
Persecution against them raged more furiously than ever. In 
some places, supported by the laity, they ejected the Conventuals 
from their houses and defended themselves by force of arms, dis- 
regarding the censures of the Church which were lavished on them. 
Others made the best of their way to Sicily, and others again, 
shortly before Clement's death, sent letters to him professing sub- 
mission and obedience, but the friends of the Spirituals feared to 
compromise themselves by even presenting them. After the ac- 
cession of John XXII. they made another attempt to reach the 
pope, but by that time the Conventuals were in full control and 
threw the envoys into prison as excommunicated heretics. Such 
of them as were able to do so escaped to Sicily. It is worthy of 
note that everywhere the virtues and sanctity of these so-called 
heretics won for them popular favor, and secured them protection 
more or less efficient, and this was especially the case in Sicily. 
King Frederic, mindful of the lessons taught him by Arnaldo de 
Vilanova, received the fugitives graciously and allowed them to 
establish themselves, in spite of repeated remonstrances on the 
part of John XXII. There Henry da Ceva, whom we shall meet 
again, had already sought refuge from the persecution of Boniface 
VIII. and had prepared the way for those who were to follow. 
In 1313 there are allusions to a pope named Celestin whom the 
" Poor Men" in Sicily had elected, with a college of cardinals, who 
constituted the only true Church and who were entitled to the 
obedience of the faithful. Insignificant as this movement may 
have seemed at the time, it subsequently aided the foundation of 
the sect known as Fraticelli, who so long braved with marvellous 
constancy the unsparing rigor of the Italian Inquisition.* 

Into these dangerous paths of rebellion the original leaders of 

* Hist. Tribulat. (loc. cit. pp. 139-40).— Lami, Antichita Toscane, pp. 596-99. 
—Franz Ehrle, Archiv, 1885, pp. 156-8. — Joann. S.Victor. Chron. aim. 1319 
(Muratori S. R. I. III. n. 479).— Wadding, ann. 1313, No. 4-7.— D'Argentre* I. i. 
297.— Arch, de l'Inq. de Carcass. (Doat, XXVII. fol. 7 sqq.).— Raym. de Fronci- 
acho (Archiv, 1887, p. 31). 

Fra Francesco del Borgo San Sepolcro, who was tried by the Inquisition at 
Assisi in 1311 for assuming gifts of prophecy, was probably a Tuscan Joachite 
who refused submission (Franz Ehrle, Archiv fur L. u. K. 1887, p. 11). 


the Italian Spirituals were not obliged to enter, as they were re- 
leased from subjection to the Conventuals, and could afford to re- 
main in obedience to Kome. Angelo da Clarino writes to his dis- 
ciples that torment and death were preferable to separation from 
the Church and its head ; the pope was the bishop of bishops, who 
regulated all ecclesiastical dignities ; the power of the keys is from 
Christ, and submission is due in spite of persecution. Yet, together 
with these appeals are others which show how impracticable was 
the position created by the belief in St. Francis as a new evan- 
gelist whose Eule was a revelation. If kings or prelates com- 
mand what is contrary to the faith, then obedience is due to 
God, and death is to be welcomed. Francis placed in the Rule 
^othinsr but what Christ bade him write, and obedience is due to 
it rather than to prelates. After the persecution under John 
XXII. he even quotes a prophecy attributed to Francis, to the 
effect that men would arise who would render the Order odious, 
and corrupt the whole Church ; there would be a pope not canoni- 
cally elected who would not believe rightly as to Christ and the 
Eule ; there would be a split in the Order, and the wrath of God 
would visit those who cleaved to error. With clear reference to 
John, he says that if a pope condemns evangelical truth as an 
error he is to be left to the judgment of Christ and the doctors ; 
if he excommunicates as heresy the poverty of the Gospel, he is 
excommunicate of God and is a heretic before Christ. Yet, though 
his faith and obedience were thus sorely tried, Angelo and his fol- 
lowers never attempted a schism. He died in 1337, worn out with 
sixty years of tribulation and persecution — a man of the firmest 
and gentlest spirit, of the most saintly aspirations, who had fallen 
on evil days and had exhausted himself in the hopeless effort to 
reconcile the irreconcilable. Though John XXII. had permitted 
him to assume the habit and Rule of the Celestins, he was obliged 
to live in hiding, with his abode known only to a few faithful 
friends and followers, of some of whom we hear as on trial before 
the Inquisition as Fraticelli, in 1334. It was in the desert hermit- 
age of Santa Maria di Aspro in the Basilicata ; but three days 
before his death a rumor spread that a saint was dying there, and 
such multitudes assembled that it was necessary to place guards 
at the entrance of his retreat, and admit the people two by two to 
gaze on his dying agonies. He shone in miracles, and was finallv 


beatified by the Church, which through the period of two genera- 
tions had never ceased to trample on him, but his little congrega- 
tion, though lost to sight in the more aggressive energy of the 
Fraticelli, continued to exist, even after the tradition of self-abne- 
gation was taken up under more fortunate auspices by the Obser- 
vantines, until it was finally absorbed into the latter in the re- 
organization of 1517 under Leo X.* 

In Provence, even before the death of Clement V., there were 
ardent spirits, nursing the reveries of the Everlasting Gospel, who 
were not satisfied with the victory won at the Council of Yienne. 
When, in 1311, the Conventuals assailed the memory of Olivi, one 
of their accusations was that he had given rise to sects who 
claimed that his doctrine was revealed by Christ, that it was of 
equal authority with the gospel, that since Nicholas III. the papal 
supremacy had been transferred to them, and they consequently 
had elected a pope of their own. This Ubertino did not deny, 
but only argued that he knew nothing of it ; that if it were true 
Olivi was not responsible, as it was wholly opposed to his teaching, 
of which not a word could be cited in support of such insanity. 
Yet, undoubtedly there were sectaries calling themselves disciples of 
Olivi among whom the revolutionary leaven was working, and they 
could recognize no virtue or authority in the carnal and worldly 
Church. In 1313 we hear of a Frere Raymond Jean, who, in a 
public sermon at Montreal, prophesied that they would suffer 
persecution for the faith, and when, after the sermon, he was 
asked what he meant, boldly replied in the presence of several 
persons, " The enemies of the faith are among ourselves. The 
Church which governs us is symbolled by the Great Whore of the 
Apocalypse, who persecutes the poor and the ministers of Christ. 
You see we do not dare to walk openly before our brethren." He 
added that the only true pope was Celestin, who had been elected 
in Sicily, and his organization was the only true Church.f 

Thus the Spirituals were by ho means a united body. When 

* Franz Ehrle (Archiv f. L. u. K. 1885, pp. 534-9, 553-5, 558-9, 561, 563-4, 
566-9 ; 1887, p. 406).— S. Francisci Prophet, xiv. (Opp. Ed. 1849, pp. 270-1).— 
Chron. Glassberger ann. 1502, 1506, 1517. 

f Franz Ehrle (Archiv fur Litt.- u. K. 1886, pp. 371, 411).— Arch, de l'lnq. 
de Carcassonne (Doat, XXVII. fol. 7 sqq.). 
III.— 5 


once the trammels of authority had been shaken off, there was 
among them too much individuality and too ardent a fanaticism 
for them to reach precisely the same convictions, and they were 
fractioned into little groups and sects which neutralized what 
slender ability they might otherwise have had to give serious 
trouble to the powerful organization of the hierarchy. Yet, 
whether their doctrines were submissive like those of Angelo, or 
revolutionary like those of Eaymond Jean, they were all guilty 
of the unpardonable crime of independence, of thinking for them- 
selves where thought was forbidden, and of believing in a higher 
law than that of papal decretals. Their steadfastness was soon to 
be put to the test. In 1314 the general, Alessandro, died, and 
after an interval of twenty months Michele da Cesena was chosen 
as his successor. To the chapter of Naples which elected him the 
Spirituals of Xarbonne sent a long memorial reciting the wrongs 
and afflictions which they had endured since the death of Clem- 
ent had deprived them of papal protection. The nomination of 
Michele might seem to be a victory over the Conventuals. He 
was a distinguished theologian, of resolute and unbending temper, 
and resolved on enforcing the strict observance of the Rule. 
"Within three months of his election he issued a general precept 
enjoining rigid obedience to it. The vestments to be worn were 
minutely prescribed, money was not to be accepted except in case 
of absolute necessity ; no fruits of the earth were to be sold ; no 
splendid buildings to be erected ; meals were to be plain and 
frugal ; the brethren were never to ride, nor even to wear shoes 
except under written permission of their convents when exigency 
required it. The Spirituals might hope that at last they had a 
general after their own heart, but they had unconsciously drifted 
away from obedience, and Michele was resolved that the Order 
should be a unit, and that all wanderers should be driven back 
into the fold.* 

A fortnight before the issuing of this precept the long inter- 
regnum of the papacy had been closed by the election of John 
XXII. There have been few popes who have so completely em- 
bodied the ruling tendencies of their time, and few who have 
exerted so large an influence on the Church, for good or for evil. 

* Franz Ehrle (loc. cit. 1886, pp. 160-4).— Wadding, ann. 1316, No. 5. 


Sprung from the most humble origin, his abilities and force of 
character had carried him from one preferment to another, until 
he reached the chair of St. Peter. He was short in stature but 
robust in health, choleric and easily moved to wrath, while his 
enmity once excited was durable, and his rejoicing when his foes 
came to an evil end savored little of the Christian pastor. Per- 
sistent and inflexible, a purpose once undertaken was pursued to 
the end regardless of opposition from friend or enemy. He was 
especially proud of his theologic attainments, ardent in disputa- 
tion, and impatient of opposition. After the fashion of the time 
he was pious, for he celebrated mass almost every day, and almost 
every night he arose to recite the Office or to study. Among his 
good works is enumerated a poetical description of the Passion of 
Christ, concluding with a prayer, and he gratified his vanity as an 
author by proclaiming many indulgences as a reward to all who 
would read it through. His chief characteristics, however, were 
ambition and avarice. To gratify the former he waged endless 
wars with the Yisconti of Milan, in which, as we are assured by 
a contemporary, the blood shed would have incarnadined the 
waters of Lake Constance, and the bodies of the slain would have 
bridged it from shore to shore. As for the latter, his quenchless 
greed displayed an exhaustless fertility of resource in converting 
the treasures of salvation into current coin. He it was who first 
reduced to a system the " Taxes of the Penitentiary," which 
offered absolution at fixed prices for every possible form of human 
wickedness, from five grossi for homicide or incest, to thirty-three 
grossi for ordination below the canonical age. Before he had been 
two years in the papacy he arrogated to himself the presentation 
to all the collegiate benefices in Christendom, under the convenient 
pretext of repressing simony, and then from their sale we are told 
that he accumulated an immense treasure. Another still more 
remunerative device was the practice of not filling a vacant episco- 
pate from the ranks, but establishing a system of promotion from 
a poorer see to a richer one, and thence to archbishoprics, so that 
each vacancy gave him the opportunity of making numerous 
changes and levying tribute on each. Besides these regular sources 
of unhallow-ed gains he was fertile in special expedients, as when, 
in 1326, needing money for his Lombard wars, he applied to Charles 
le Bel for authority to levy a subsidy on the churches of France, 


Germany being for the time cut off by his quarrel with Louis of 
Bavaria. Charles at first refused, but finally agreed to divide the 
spoils, and granted the power in consideration of a papal grant to 
him of a tithe for two years — as a contemporary remarks, " et ainsi 
saincte yglise, quant Vun le font, V autre VescorcheP John pro- 
ceeded to extort a large sum ; from some he got a full tithe, from 
others a half, from others again as much as he could extract, while 
all who held benefices under papal authority had to pay a full 
years revenue. His excuse for this insatiable acquisitiveness was 
that he designed the monev for a crusade, but as he lived to be 
a nonagenary without executing that design, the contemporary 
Villani is perhaps justified in the cautious remark — " Possiby he 
had such intention." Though for the most part parsimonious, he 
spent immense sums in advancing the fortunes of his nephew — or 
son — the Cardinal-legate Poyet, who was endeavoring to found a 
principality in the north of Italy. He lavished money in making 
Avignon a permanent residence for the papacy, though it was re- 
served for Benedict XII. to purchase and enlarge the enormous 
palace-fortress of the popes. Yet after his death, when an inven- 
tory of his effects came to be made, there was found in his treasury 
eighteen millions of gold florins, and jewels and vestments esti- 
mated at seven millions more. Even in mercantile Florence, the 
sum was so incomprehensible that Villani, whose brother was one 
of the appraisers, feels obliged to explain that each million is a 
thousand thousands. When we reflect upon the comparative pov- 
erty of the period and the scarcity of the precious metals, we can 
estimate how great an amount of suffering was represented by 
such an accumulation, wrung as it was, in its ultimate source, 
from the wretched peasantry, who gleaned at the best an insuf- 
ficient subsistence from imperfect agriculture. We can, perhaps, 
moreover, imagine how, in its passage to the papal treasury, it 
represented so much of simony, so much of justice sold or denied 
to the wretched litigants in the curia, so much of purgatory re- 
mitted, and of pardons for sins to the innumerable applicants for 
a share of the Church's treasurv of salvation^ 

* Villani, Chronica. Lib. xi. c. 20. — Chron. Glassberger ann. 1334.— Vitodurani 
Chron. (Eccard. Corp. Hist. Med. ^Evi I. 1806-8).— Friednch, Statut. Synod. 
Wratislav., Hannoverae, 1827, pp. 37, 38, 41.— Grandes Chroniques, V. 300.— 
Guillel. Nangiac. Contiu. ann. 1326. — The collection of papal briefs relating to 


The permanent evil which he wrought by his shameless traffic 
in benefices, and the reputation which he leff behind him, are visi- 
ble in the bitter complaints which were made at the Council of 
Siena, a century later, by the deputies 01 the Gallican nation. 
They refer to his pontificate as that in which the Holy See re- 
served all benefices to itself, when graces, expectatives, etc., were 
publicly sold to the highest bidder, without regard to qualifica- 
tion, so that in France many benefices were utterly ruined by 
reason of the insupportable burdens laid upon them. It is no 
wonder, therefore, that when St. Birgitta of Sweden was applied 
to, in the latter half of the fourteenth century, by some Francis- 
cans to learn whether John's decretals on the subject of the pov- 
erty of Christ were correct, and she was vouchsafed two visions 
of the Virgin to satisfy their scruples, the Virgin reported that 
his decretals were free from error, but discreetly announced that 
she was not at liberty to say whether his soul was in heaven or 
in hell. Such was the man to whom the cruel irony of fate com- 
mitted the settlement of the delicate scruples which vexed the 
souls of the Spirituals.* 

John had been actively engaged in the proceedings of the 
Council of Vienne, and was thoroughly familiar with all the de- 
tails of the question. When, therefore, the general, Michele, short- 
ly after his accession, applied to him to restore unity in the dis- 
tracted Order, his imperious temper led him to take speedy and 
vigorous action. King Frederic of Trinacria was ordered to seize 
the refugees in his dominions, and deliver them to their superiors to 
be disciplined. Bertrand de la Tour, the Provincial of Aquitaine, 
was instructed to reduce to obedience the rebels of the convents 

Saxony recently printed by Schmidt (Pabstliche Urkunden und Regesten, pp. 
87-295) will explain the immense sums raised by John XXII. from the sale of 
canonries. It is within bounds to say that more than half the letters issued dur- 
ing his pontificate are appointments of this kind. 

The accounts of the papal collector for Hungary in 1320 show the thorough- 
ness with which the first-fruits of every petty benefice were looked after, and the 
enormous proportion consumed in the process. The collector charges himself 
with 1913 gold florins received, of which only 732 reached the papal treasury. 
(Theiner, Monumenta Slavor. Meridional. I. 147). 

* Jo. de Ragusio Init. et Prosecut. Basil. Concil. (Monument. Concil. Ssec. XV. 
T. I. p. 32).— Revelat. S. Brigittas Lib. vn. c. viii. 


of Beziers, ISarbonne, and Carcassonne. Bertrand at first tried 
persuasion. The outward sign of the Spirituals was the habit. 
They wore smaller hoods, and gowns shorter, narrower, and coarser 
than the Conventuals ; and, holding this to be in accordance with 
the precedent set by Francis, it was as much an article of faith 
with them as the absence of granaries and wine-cellars and the 
refusal to handle money. When he urged them to abandon these 
vestments they therefore replied that this was one of the matters 
in which they could not render obedience. Then he assumed a 
tone of authority under the papal rescript, and they rejoined by 
an appeal to the pope better informed, signed by forty-five friars 
of Narbonne, and fifteen of Beziers. On receipt of the appeal, 
John peremptorily ordered, April 27, 1317, all the appellants to 
present themselves before him within ten days, under pain of ex- 
communication. They set forth, seventy -four in number, with 
Bernard Delicieux at their head, and on reaching Avignon did not 
venture to lodge in the Franciscan convent, but bivouacked for 
the night on the public place in front of the papal doors.* 

They were regarded as much more dangerous rebels than the 
Italian Spirituals. The latter had already had a hearing in which 
Ubertino da Casale confuted the charges brought against them, 
and he, Goffrido da Cornone, and Philippe de Caux, while express- 
ing sympathy and readiness to defend Olivi and his disciples, had 
plainly let it be seen that they regarded themselves as not per- 
sonally concerned with them. John drew the same distinction; 
and though Angelo da Clarino was for a while imprisoned on the 
strength of an old condemnation by Boniface VIII., he was soon 
released and permitted to adopt the Celestin habit and Rule. 
Ubertino was told that if he would return for a few days to the 
Franciscan convent proper provision would be made for his fut- 
ure. To this he significantly replied, "After staying with the 
friars for a single day I will not require any provision in this 
world from you or any one else," and he was permitted to trans- 
fer himself to the Benedictine Order, as were likewise several 
others of his comrades. He had but a temporary respite, how- 

No. 9-14. — Hist. Tribulation. (Archiv far L. u. K. 
ictor. Chron. ann. 1311, 1316 (Muratori S. R. I. III. n. 


ever, and we shall see hereafter that in 1325 he was obliged to 
take refuge with Louis of Bavaria.* 

The Olivists were not to escape so easily. The day after their 
arrival they were admitted to audience. Bernard Delicieux ar- 
gued their case so ably that he could only be answered by accus- 
ing him of having impeded the Inquisition, and John ordered his 
arrest. Then Francois Sanche took up the argument, and was ac- 
cused of having vilified the Order publicly, when John delivered 
him to the Conventuals, who promptly imprisoned him in a cell 
next to the latrines. Then Guillaume de Saint-Amand assumed 
the defence, but the friars accused him of dilapidation and of de- 
serting the Convent of Narbonne, and John ordered his arrest. 
Then Geoffroi attempted it, but John interrupted him, saying, 
"We wonder greatly that you demand the strict observance of 
the Rule, and yet you wear five gowns." Geoffroi replied, " Holy 
Father, you are deceived, for, saving your reverence, it is not true 
that I wear five gowns." John answered hotly, " Then we lie," 
and ordered Geoffroi to be seized until it could be determined how 
many gowns he wore. The terrified brethren, seeing that their 
case was prejudged, fell on their knees, crying, " Holy Father, jus- 
tice, justice !" and the pope ordered them all to go to the Francis- 
can convent, to be guarded till he should determine what to do 
with them. Bernard, Guillaume, and Geoffroi, and some of their 
comrades were subjected to harsh imprisonment in chains by or- 
der of the pope. Bernard's fate we have already seen. As to 
the others, an inquisition was held on them, when all but twenty- 
five submitted, and were rigorously penanced by the triumphant 
Conventuals, f 

The twenty-five recalcitrants were handed over to the Inquisi- 
tion of Marseilles, under whose jurisdiction they were arrested. 
The inquisitor was Frere Michel le Moine, one of those who had 
been degraded and imprisoned by Clement V. on account of their 
zeal in persecuting the Spirituals. ~Now he was able to glut his 
revenge. He had ample warrant for whatever he might please to 
do, for John had not waited to hear the Spirituals before condemn- 
ing them. As early as February 17, he had ordered the inquisi- 

* Hist. Tribulat. (ubi sup. pp. 143-44, 151-2).— Franz Ehrle, Archiv, 1887, p. 

f Hist. Tribulat. (Ibid. pp. 145-6).— Ray m. de Fronciacho (lb. 1887, p. 29). 


tors of Languedoc to denounce as heretics all who styled them- 
selves Fraticelli or Fratres de paupere vita. Then, April 13, he 
had issued the constitution Quorumdam, in which he had definite- 
ly settled the two points which had become the burning questions 
of the dispute — the character of vestments to be worn, and the 
legality of laying up stores of provisions in granaries, and cellars 
of wine and oil. These questions he referred to the general of 
the Order with absolute power to determine them. Under Mi- 
chele's instructions, the ministers and guardians were to determine 
for each convent what amount of provisions it required, what por- 
tion might be stored up, and to what extent the friars were to beg 
for it. Such decisions were to be implicitly followed without 
thinking or asserting that they derogated from the Eule. The 
bull wound up with the significant words, " Great is poverty, 
but greater is blamelessness, and perfect obedience is the greatest 
good." There was a hard common-sense about this which may 
seem to us even commonplace, but it decided the case against the 
Spirituals, and gave them the naked alternative of submission or 

This bull was the basis of the inquisitorial process against the 
twenty-five recalcitrants. The case was perfectly clear under it, 
and in fact all the proceedings of the Spirituals after its issue had 
been flagrantly contumacious — their refusal to change their vest- 
ments, and their appeal to the pope better informed. Before 
handing them over to the Inquisition they had been brought be- 
fore Michele da Cesena, and their statements to him when read 
before the consistory had been pronounced heretical and the au- 
thors subject to the penalty of heresy. Efforts of course had been 
made to secure their submission, but in vain, and it was not until 
November 6, 1317, that letters were issued by John and by Michele 
da Cesena to the Inquisitor Michel, directing him to proceed with 
the trial. Of the details of the process we have no knowledge, 
but it is not likely that the accused were spared any of the rigors 
customary in such cases, when the desire was to break the spirit 
and induce compliance. This is shown, moreover, in the fact that 
the proceedings were protracted for exactly six months, the sen- 
tence being rendered on May 7, 1318, and by the further fact that 

Coll. Doat, XXXIV. 147.— Extrav. Joann. XXII. Tit. xiv. cap. 1. 


most of the culprits were brought to repentance and abjuration. 
Only four of them had the physical and mental endurance to per- 
severe to the last — Jean Barrani, Deodat Michel, Guillem Sainton, 
and Pons Rocha — and these were handed over the same day to the 
secular authorities of Marseilles and duly burned. A fifth, Ber- 
nard Aspa, who had said in prison that he repented, but who re- 
fused to recant and abjure, was mercifully condemned to prison 
for life, though under all inquisitorial rules he should have shared 
the fate of his accomplices. The rest were forced to abjure pub- 
licly and to accept the penances imposed by the inquisitor, with 
the warning that if they failed to publish their abjuration wher- 
ever they had preached their errors they would be burned as re- 

Although in the sentence the heresv of the victims is said to 
have been drawn from the poisoned doctrine of Olivi, and though 
the inquisitor issued letters prohibiting any one from possessing 
or reading his books, there is no allusion to any Joachite error. 
It was simply a question of disobedience to the bull Quorumdam. 
They affirmed that this was contrary to the Gospel of Christ, which 
forbade them to wear garments of other fashion than that which 
they had adopted, or to lay up stores of corn and wine. To this 
the pope had no authority to compel them ; the} T would not obey 
him, and this they declared they would maintain until the Day of 
Judgment. Frivolous as the questions at issue undoubtedly were, 
it was on the one hand a case of conscience from which reason 
had long since been banished by the bitterness of controversy, 
and on the other the necessity of authority compelling obedience. 
If private judgment were allowed to set aside the commands of a 
papal decretal, the moral power of the papacy was gone, and with 
it all temporal supremacy. Yet, underlying all this was the old 
Joachitic leaven which taught that the Church of Rome had no 
spiritual authority, and thus that its decrees were not binding on 
the elect. When Bernard Delicieux was sent, in 1319, from Avi- 
gnon to Castelnaudari for trial, on the road he talked freely with 
his escort and made no secret of his admiration for Joachim, even 
going so far as to say that he had erased from his copy of the 
Decretum the Lateran canon condemning Joachim's Trinitarian 

* Baluz. et Mansi II. 248-51.— Hist. Tribulat. (loc. cit, p. 147). 


error, and that if he were pope he would abrogate it. The influ- 
ence of the Everlasting Gospel is seen in the fact that of those 
who recanted at Marseilles and were imprisoned, a number fled to 
the Infidel, leaving behind them a paper in which they defiantly 
professed their faith, and prophesied that they would return tri- 
umphantly after the death of John XXII.* 

Thus John, ere yet his pontificate was a year old, had succeed- 
ed in creating a new heresy — that which held it unlawful for 
Franciscans to wear flowing gowns or to have granaries and cellars. 
In the multiform development of human perversity there has been 
perhaps none more deplorably ludicrous than this, that man should 
burn his fellows on such a question, or that men should be found 
dauntless enough to brave the flames for such a principle, and to 
feel that they were martyrs in a high and holy cause. John proba- 
bly, from the constitution of his mind and his training, could not 
understand that men could be so enamoured of holy poverty as to 
sacrifice themselves to it, and he could only regard them as obsti- 
nate rebels, to be coerced into submission or to pay the penalty. 
He had taken his stand in support of Michele da Cesena's author- 
ity, and resistance, whether active or passive, only hardened him. 

The bull Quorumdam had created no little stir. A defence of 
it, written by an inquisitor of Carcassonne and Toulouse, probably 
Jean de Beaune, shows that its novel positions had excited grave 
doubts in the minds of learned men, who were not convinced of its 
orthodoxy, though not prepared to risk open dissent. There is also 
an allusion to a priest who persisted in maintaining the errors 
which it condemned and who was handed over to the secular arm, 

* Raym. de Fronciacho (Archiv f. L. u. K. 1887, p. 31).— Baluz. et Mansi 
II. 248-51, 271-2. — Joann. S.Victor. Chron. ann. 1319 (Muratori S. R. I. III. n. 
478-9).— MSS. Bib. Nat., fonds latin, No. 4270, fol. 188, 262. Bernard, however, 
in his examination, denied these allegations as well as Olivi's tenet that Christ 
was alive when lanced upon the Cross, although he said some MSS. of St. Mark 
so represented him (fol. 167-8). 

Of the remainder of those who were tried at Marseille? the fate is uncertain. 
From the text it appears that at least some of them were imprisoned. Others 
were probably let off with lighter penances, for in 1325 Blaise Boerii, a shoe- 
maker of Narbonne, when on trial before the Inquisition of Carcassonne, con- 
fessed that he had visited, in houses at Marseilles, three of them at one time and 
four at another, and had received them in his own house and had conducted 
them on their way. — Doat, XXVII. 7 sqq. 


but who recanted ere the fagots were lighted and was received to 
penance. To silence discussion, John assembled a commission of 
thirteen prelates and doctors, including Michele da Cesena, who 
after due consideration solemnly condemned as heretical the prop- 
ositions that the pope had no authority to issue the bull, and that 
obedience was not due to prelates who commanded the laying 
aside of short and narrow vestments and the storing up of corn 
and wine. All this was rapidly creating a schism, and the bull 
Sancta Romana, December 30, 1317, and Gloriosam ecclesiam, Jan- 
uary 23, 1318, were directed against those who under the names of 
Fraticelli, Beguines, Bizochi, and Fratres de paupere vita, in Sicily, 
Italy, and the south of France, were organizing an independent 
Order under the pretence of observing strictly the Kule of Francis, 
receiving multitudes into their sect, building or receiving houses 
in gift, begging in public, and electing superiors. All such are de- 
clared excommunicate ipso facto, and all prelates are commanded 
to see that the sect is speedily extirpated.* 

Among the people, the cooler heads argued that if the Francis- 
can vow rendered all possession sinful it was not a vow of holi- 
ness, for in things in which use was consumption, such as bread 
and cheese, use passed into possession. He who took such a vow, 
therefore, by the mere fact of living broke that vow, and could not 
be in a state of grace. The supreme holiness of poverty, however, 
had been so assiduously preached for a hundred years that a large 
portion of the population sympathized with the persecuted Spir- 
ituals ; many laymen, married and unmarried, joined them as Ter- 
tiaries, and even priests embraced their doctrines. There speedily 
grew up a sect, by no means confined to Franciscans, to replace 
the fast-vanishing Cathari as an object for the energies of the In- 
quisition. It is the old story over again, of persecuted saints with 
the familiars ever at their heels, but always finding refuge and 
hiding-place at the hands of friendly sympathizers. Pierre Tren- 
cavel, a priest of Beziers, may be taken as an example. His name 
recurs frequently in the examinations before the Inquisition as that 
of one of the principal leaders of the sect. Caught at last, he was 
thrown into the prison of Carcassonne, but managed to escape, 

* Baluz. et Mansi II. 270-1, 274-6.— Extravagant. Joann. XXII. Tit. vn. 
Mag. Bull. Roman. I. 193. 


when he was condemned in an auto defe as a convicted heretic. 
Then a purse was raised among the faithful to send him to the 
East. After an absence of some years he returned and was as 
active as ever, wandering in disguise throughout the south of 
France and assiduously guarded by the devotees. What was his 
end does not appear, but he probably perished at length at the 
stake as a relapsed heretic, for in 1327 we find him and his daugh- 
ter Andree in the pitiless hands of Michel of Marseilles. Jean 
du Prat, then Inquisitor of Carcassonne, wanted them, in order to 
extort from them the names of their disciples and of those who 
had sheltered them. Apparently Michel refused to surrender 
them, and a peremptory order from John XXII. was requisite to 
obtain their transfer. In 1325 Bernard Castillon of Montpellier 
confesses to harboring a number of Beguines in his house, and then 
to buying a dwelling for them in which he visited them. Another 
culprit acknowledges to receiving many fugitives in his house at 
Montpellier. There was ample sympathy for them and ample 
occasion for it.* 

The burning of the four martyrs of Marseilles was the signal 
for active inquisitorial work. Throughout all the infected region 
the Holy Office bent its energies to the suppression of the new 
heresy ; and as previously there had been no necessity for conceal- 
ing opinions, the suspects were readily laid hold of. There was 

* Guill. Nangiac. Contin. ann. 1317.— Coll. Doat, XXVII. 7 sqq., 170 ; XXXV. 
18.— Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolos. pp. 301. 312, 381. 

The case of Raymond Jean illustrates the life of the persecuted Spirituals. 
As early as 1312 he had commenced to denounce the Church as the Whore of 
Babylon, and to prophesy his own fate. In 1317 he was one of the appellants 
who were summoned to Avignon, where he submitted. Remitted to the obedi- 
ence of his Order, he was sent by his superior to the convent of Anduse, where he 
remained until he heard the fate of his stancher companions at Marseilles, when 
l.e fled with a comrade. Reaching Beziers, they found refuge in a house where, 
in company with some female apostates from the Order, they lay hid for three 
years. After this Raymond led a wandering life, associating for a while with 
Pierre Trencavel. At one time he went beyond seas ; then returning, he adopted 
the habit of a secular priest and assumed the cure of souls, sometimes in Gascony 
and again in Rodez or east of the Rhone. Captured at last in 1325 and brought 
before the Inquisition of Carcassonne, after considerable pressure he was induced 
to recant. His sentence is not given, but doubtless it was perpetual imprison- 
ment.— Doat, XXVII. 7 sqq. 


thus an ample harvest, and the rigor of the inquisition set on foot 
is shown by the order issued in February, 1322, by John XXII., 
that all Tertiaries in the suspected districts should be summoned 
to appear and be closely examined. This caused general terror. 
In the archives of Florence there are preserved numerous letters 
to the papal curia, written in February, 1322, by the magistrates 
and prelates of the Tuscan cities, interceding for the Tertiaries, and 
begging that they shall not be confounded with "the new sect of 
Beguines. This is doubtless a sample of what was occurring 
everywhere, and the all-pervading fear was justified by the daily 
increasing roll of martyrs. The test was simple. It was whether 
the accused believed that the pope had power to dispense with 
vows, especially those of poverty and chastity. As we have seen, 
it was a commonplace of the schools, which Aquinas proved beyond 
cavil, that he had no such power, and even as recently as 1311 
the Conventuals, in arguing before Clement V., had admitted that 
no Franciscan could hold property or take a wife under command 
from the pope ; but things had changed in the interval, and now 
those who adhered to the established doctrine had the alternative 
of recantation or the stake. Of course but a small portion of the 
culprits had the steadfastness to endure to the end against the per- 
suasive methods which the Inquisition knew so well how to employ, 
and the number of the victims who perished shows that the sect 
must have been large. Our information is scanty and fragmen- 
tary, but we know that at Narbonne, where the bishops at first 
endeavored to protect the unfortunates, until frightened by the 
threats of the inquisitors, there were three burned in 1319, seventeen 
in Lent, 1321, and several in 1322. At Montpellier, persecution 
was already active in 1 319. At Lunel there were seventeen burned ; 
at Beziers, two at one time and seven at another ; at Pezenas, sev- 
eral, with Jean Formayron at their head ; in Gironde, a number in 
1319 ; at Toulouse, four in 1322, and others at Cabestaing and Lo- 
deve. At Carcassonne there were burnings in 1319, 1320, and 1321, 
and Henri de Chamay was active there between 1325 and 1330. 
A portion of his trials are still extant, with very few cases of burn- 
ing, but Mosheim had a list of one hundred and thirteen persons 
executed at Carcassonne as Spirituals from 1318 to about 1350. 
All these cases were under Dominican inquisitors, and the Fran- 
ciscans were even more zealous, if we may believe Wadding's boast 


that in 1323 there were one hundred and fourteen burned by Fran- 
ciscan inquisitors alone. The Inquisition at Marseilles, in fact, 
which was in Franciscan hands, had the reputation of being exces- 
sively severe with the recalcitrant brethren of the Order. In a 
case occurring in 1329 Frere Guillem de Salvelle, the Guardian of 
Beziers, states that their treatment there was very harsh and the 
imprisonment of the most rigorous description. Doubtless Angelo 
da Clarino has justification for the assertion that the Conventuals 
improved their triumph over their antagonists like mad dogs and 
wolves, torturing, slaying, and ransoming without mercy. Trivial 
as may seem to us the cause of quarrel, we cannot but respect the 
simple earnestness which led so many zealots to seal their convic- 
tions with their blood. Many of them, we are told, courted mar- 
tyrdom and eagerly sought the flames. Bernard Leon of Mon- 
treal was burned for persistently declaring that, as he had vowed 
poverty and chastity, he would not obey the pope if ordered to take 
a wife or accept a prebend.* 

Ferocious persecution such as this of course only intensified the 
convictions of the sufferers and their antagonism to the Holy See. 
So far as regards the ostensible subject of controversy, we learn 
from Pierre Tort, when he was before the Inquisition of Toulouse 
in 1322, that it was allowable to lay in stores of corn and wine 
sufficient for eight or fifteen days, while of salt and oil there might 
be provision for half a year. As to vestments, Michele da Cesena 
had exercised the power conferred on him by the bull Quorumdam 
by issuing, in 1317, a precept requiring the gown to be made of 
coarse stuff, reaching down to cover only half the foot, while the 
cord was to be of hemp and not of flax. Although he seems to 
have left the burning question of the hood untouched, this regula- 
tion might have satisfied reasonable scruples, but it was a case of 
conscience which admitted of no compromise. The Spirituals de- 
clared that they were not bound to abandon the still shorter and 

# Raynald ann. 1322, No. 51. — Archivio di Firenze, Prov. del Convento di 
Santa Croce, Feb. 1322. — S. Th. Aquin. Summ. Sec. Sec. Q. lxxxviii. Art. xi. ; Q. 
clxxxvi. Art. viii. ad 3. — Franz Ehrle (Archiv fur Litt.- u. Kirchengeschichte, 
1887, p. 156).— Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolos. pp. 300, 313, 381-93.— Coll. Doat, 
XXVII., XXVIIL— Mosheim de Beghardis pp. 499, 632.— Vaissette, IV. 182-3.— 
Wadding, ann. 1317, No. 45.— Hist. Tribulat. (loc. cit. p. 149).— Arch, de 1' Inq. 
de Carcass. (Doat, XXVII. 162).— Johann. S. Victor. Chron. ann. 1316-19. 


more ungainly gowns which their tradition attributed to St. Fran- 
cis, no matter what might be commanded by pope or general, and 
so large was the importance attributed to the question that in the 
popular belief the four martyrs of Marseilles were burned because 
they wore the mean and tightly-fitting garments which distin- 
guished the Spirituals.* 

Technically they were right, for, as we have seen above, it 
had hitherto been generally admitted that the pope could not 
dispense for vows ; and when Olivi developed this to the further 
position that he could not order anything contrary to an evangeli- 
cal vow, it was not reckoned among his errors condemned by the 
Council of Yienne. While all this, however, had been admitted 
as a theoretical postulate, when it came to be set up against the 
commands of such a pope as John XXII. it was rebellious heresy, 
to be crushed with the sternest measures. At the same time it 
was impossible that the sufferers could recognize the authority 
which was condemning them to the stake. Men who willingly 
offered themselves to be burned because they asserted that the pope 
had no power to dispense from the observance of vows ; who de- 
clared that if there were but one woman in the world, and if she 
had taken a vow of chastity, the pope could give her no valid dis- 
pensation, even if it were to prevent the human race from coming 
to an end ; who asserted that John XXII. had sinned against the 
gospel of Christ when he had attempted to permit the Francis- 
cans to have granaries and cellars ; who held that although the 
pope might have power over other Orders he had none over that 
of St. Francis, because his Rule was divine revelation, and not a 
word in it could be altered or erased — such men could only defend 
themselves against the pope by denying the source of his author- 
ity. All the latent Joachitic notions which had been dormant were 
vivified and became the leading principles of the sect. John 
XXII. , when he issued the bull Quorumdam, became the mystical 
Antichrist, the forerunner of the true Antichrist. The Roman 
Church was the carnal Church ; the Spirituals would form the new 
Church, which would fight with Antichrist, and, under the guidance 
of the Holy Ghost, would usher in the new age when man would 

* Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolosan. pp. 320, 325.— Wadding, ann. 1317, No. 23.— 
Coll. Doat, XXVII. 7 sqq. 


be ruled by love and poverty be universal. Some of them placed 
this in 1325, others in 1330, others again in fourteen years from 
1321. Thus the scheme of the Everlasting Gospel was formally 
adopted and brought to realization. There were two churches- 
one the carnal Church of Home, the Whore of Babylon, the Syna- 
gogue of Satan, drunk with the blood of the saints, over which 
John XXII. pretended to preside, although he had forfeited his 
station and become a heretic of heretics when he consented to the 
death of the martyrs of Marseilles. The other was the true Church, 
the Church of the Holy Ghost, which would speedily triumph 
through the arms of Frederic of Trinacria. St. Francis would be 
resurrected in the flesh, and then would commence the third age 
and the seventh and last state of mankind. Meanwhile, the sacra- 
ments were already obsolete and no longer requisite for salvation. 
It is to this period of frenzied exaltation that we may doubtless 
attribute the interpolations of Olivi's writings.* 

This new Church had some sort of organization. In the trial of 
Xaprous Boneta at Carcassonne, in 1325, there is an allusion to a 
Frere Guillem Giraud, who had been ordained by God as pope in 
place of John XXII. , whose sin had been as great as Adam's, and 
who had thus been deposed by the divine will. There were not 
lacking saints and martyrs, besides Francis and Olivi. Fragments 
of the bodies and bones of those who perished at the stake were 
treasured up as relics, and even pieces of the stakes at which they 
suffered. These were set before altars in their houses, or carried 
about the person as amulets. In this cult, the four martyrs of 
Marseilles were pre-eminently honored ; their suffrages with God 
were as potent as those of St. Laurence or St. Vincent, and in them 
Christ had been spiritually crucified on the four arms of the cross. 
One poor wretch, who was burned at Toulouse in 1322, had in- 
serted in his litany the names of seventv Spirituals who had suf- 
fered ; he invoked them among the other saints, attaching equal 
importance to their intervention ; and this was doubtless a cus- 
tomary and recognized form of devotion. Yet this cult was sim- 
pler than that of the orthodox Church, for it was held that the 

* Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolosan. pp. 298-99. 302-6, 316.— Bern. Guidon. Prac- 
lica P. v.— Doat, XXVII. 7 sqq.— Johann. S. Victor. Chron. ann. 1316-19 Olura- 
tori S. R. I. III. ii. 478-9). 


saints needed no oblations, and if a man had vowed a candle to one 
of them or to the Virgin, or a pilgrimage to Compostella, it would 
be better to give to the poor the money that it would cost.* 

The Ghurch composed of these enthusiastic fanatics broke off 
all relations with the Italian Spirituals, whose more regulated zeal 
seemed lukewarmness and backsliding. The prisoners who were 
tried by Bernard Gui in 1322 at Toulouse described the Franciscan 
Order as divided into three fragments — the Conventuals, who 
insisted on having granaries and cellars, the Fraticelli under Henry 
da Ceva in Sicily, and the Spirituals, or Beguines, then under per- 
secution. The two former groups they said did not observe the 
Kule and would be destroyed, while their own sect would endure 
to the end of the world. Even the saintly and long-suffering 
Angelo da Clarino was denounced as an apostate, and there were 
hot-headed zealots who declared that he would prove to be the 
mystical Antichrist. Others were disposed to assign this doubt- 
ful honor, or even the position of the greater Antichrist, to Felipe 
of Majorca, brother of that Ferrand whom we have seen offered 
the sovereignty of Carcassonne. Felipe's thirst for asceticism had 
led him to abandon his brother's court and become a Tertiary of 
St. Francis. Angelo alludes to him repeatedly, with great admi- 
ration, as worthy to rank with the ancient perfected saints. In 
the stormy discussions soon after John's accession he had inter- 
vened in favor of the Spirituals, petitioning that they be allowed 
to form a separate Order. After taking the full vows, he renewed 
this supplication in 1328, but it was refused in full consistory, after 
which we hear of him wandering over Europe and living on beg- 
gary. In 1341, with the support of Robert of Naples, he made a 
third application, which Benedict XII. rejected for the reason that 
he was a supporter and defender of the Beguines, whom he had 
justified after their condemnation by publicly asserting many 
enormous heretical lies about the Holy See. Such were the men 
whose self-devotion seemed to these fiery bigots so tepid as to ren- 
der them objects of detestation.f 

* Doat, XXVII. 7 sqq.— Lib; Sententt. Inq. Tolos. pp. 305, 307, 310, 383-5.-^- 
Bern. Guidon. Practica P. v. 

t Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolos. pp. 303, 309, 326, 330.— Bern. Guidon. Practica 
P. v.— Franz Ehrle (op. cit. 1885, pp. 540, 543, 557),— Ray in. de Fronciacho (lb. 
III.— 6 


The heights of exaltation reached in their religious delirium 
are illustrated by the career of Xaprous Boneta, who was rever- 
enced in the sect as an inspired prophetess. As early as 1315 she 
had fallen into the hands of the Inquisition at Hontpellier, and had 
been thrown into prison, to be subsequently released. She and her 
sister Alissette were warmly interested in the persecuted Spirituals, 
and gave refuge to many fugitives in their house. As persecution 
grew hotter, her exaltation increased. In 1320 she commenced to 
have visions and ecstasies, in which she was carried to heaven and 
had interviews with Christ. Finally, on Holy Thursday, 1321, 
Christ communicated to her the Divine Spirit as completely as it 
had been given to the Virgin, saying, " The Blessed Virgin Mary 
was the giver of the Son of God : thou shalt be the giver of the 
Holy Ghost." Thus the promises of the Everlasting Gospel were 
on the point of fulfilment, and the Third Age was about to dawn. 
Elijah, she said, was St. Francis, and Enoch was Olivi ; the power 
granted to Christ lasted until God gave the Holy Spirit to Olivi, 
and invested him with as much glory as had been granted to the 
humanity of Christ. The papacy has ceased to exist, the sacra- 
ments of the altar and of confession are superseded, but that of 
matrimony remains. That of penitence, indeed, still exists, but it 
is purely internal, for heartfelt contrition works forgiveness of 
sins without sacerdotal intercession or the imposition of penance. 
One remark, which she casually made when before her judges, is 
noteworthy as manifesting the boundless love and charity of these 
poor souls. The Spirituals and lepers, she said, who had been 
burned were like the innocents massacred by Herod — it was Satan 
who procured the burning of the Spirituals and lepers. This alludes 
to the hideous cruelties which, as we have seen, were perpetrated 
on the lepers in 1321 and 1322, when the whole of France went 
mad with terror over a rumored poisoning of the wells by these 
outcasts, and when, it seems, the Spirituals were wise enough and 
humane enough to sympathize with them and condemn their mur- 
der. Naprous, at length, was brought before Henri de Chamay, 

1887, p. 29.— Guillel. Nangiac. Contin. ann. 1330.— Wadding, ann. 1341, No. 
21, 23. 

A subdivision of the Italian Fraticelli took the name of Brethren of Fray 
Felipe de Mallorca (Tocco, Archivio Storico Napoletano, 1887, Fasc. 1). 


the Inquisitor of Carcassonne, in 1325. Sincere in the belief of 
her divine mission, she spontaneously and fearlessly related her 
history and stated her faith, and in her replies to her examiners 
she was remarkably quick and intelligent. When her confession 
was read over to her she confirmed it, and to all exhortations to 
retract she quietly answered that she would live and die in it as 
the truth. She was accordingly handed over to the secular arm 
and sealed her convictions with her blood.* 

Extravagances of belief such as this were not accompanied with 
extravagance of conduct. Even Bernard Gui has no fault to find 
with the heretics' mode of life, except that the school of Satan 
imitated the school of Christ, as laymen imitate like monkeys the 
pastors of the Church. They all vowed poverty and led a life of 
self-denial, some of them laboring with their hands and others beg- 
ging by the wayside. In the towns and villages they had little 
dwellings which they called Houses of Poverty, and where they 
dwelt together. On Sundays and feast-days their friends would 
assemble and all would listen to readings from the precepts and 
articles of faith, the lives of the saints, and their own religious 
books in the vulgar tongue — mostly the writings of Olivi, which 
they regarded as revelations from God, and the " Transitus Sancti 
Patris" which was a legendary account of his death. The only 
external signs by which Bernard says they were to be recognized 
were that on meeting one another, or entering a house, they would 
say, " Blessed be Jesus Christ," or " Blessed be the name of the 
Lord Jesus Christ." When praying in church or elsewhere they 
sat with hooded heads and faces turned to the wall, not standing 
or kneeling, or striking their hands, as was customary with the 
orthodox. At dinner, after asking a blessing, one of them would 
kneel and recite Gloria in excelsis, and after supper, Salve Regina. 
This was all inoffensive enough, but they had one peculiarity to 
which Bernard as an inquisitor took strong exceptions. When on 
trial they were ready enough to confess their own faith, but noth- 
ing would induce them to betray their associates. In their sim- 
plicity they held that this would be a violation of Christian charity 
to which they could not lawfully be compelled, and the inquisitor 
wasted infinite pains in the endeavor to show that it is charity to 

* Coll. Doat, XXVII. 7 sqq., 95. 


one's neighbor, and not an injury, to give him a chance of con- 

Evidently these poor folk would have been harmless enough 
if let alone, and their persecution could only be justified by the 
duty of the Church to preserve erring souls from perdition. A 
sect based upon the absolute abnegation of property as its chief 
principle, and the apocalyptic reveries of the Everlasting Gospel, 
could never become dangerous, though it might be disagreeable, 
from its mute — or perhaps vivacious — protest against the luxury 
and Avorldliness of the Church. Even if let alone it would prob- 
ably soon have died out. Springing as it did in a region and at a 
period in which the Inquisition was thoroughly organized, it had 
no chance of survival, and it speedily succumbed under the fero- 
cious energy of the proceedings brought to bear against it. Yet 
we cannot fix with any precision the date of its extinction. The 
records are imperfect, and those which we possess fail to draw a 
distinction between the Spirituals and the orthodox Franciscans, 
who, as we shall see, Avere driven to rebellion by John XXII. on the 
question of the poverty of Christ. This latter dogma became one 
of so much larger importance that the dreams of the Spirituals 
were speedily lost to view, and in the later cases it is reasonable to 
assume that the victims were Fraticelli. Still, there are several 
prosecutions on record at Carcassonne in 1329, which were doubt- 
less of Spirituals. One of them was of Jean Eoger, a priest who 
had stood in high consideration at Beziers ; he had been an asso- 
ciate of Pierre Trencavel in his wanderings, and the slight penance 
imposed on him would seem to indicate that the ardor of persecu- 
tion was abating, though we learn that the bones of the martyrs 
of Marseilles were still handed around as relics. John XXII. was 
not disposed to connive at any relaxation of rigor, and in Febru- 
ary, 1331, he reissued his bull Sancta Rornana, with a preface ad- 
dressed to bishops and inquisitors in which he assumes that the sect 
is flourishing as vigorously as ever, and orders the most active meas- 
ures taken for its suppression. Doubtless there Avere subsequent 
prosecutions, but the sect as a distinctive one faded out of sight.f 

During the period of its actiA r e existence it had spread across 

* Bern. Guidon. Practica P. v. f Doat, XXVII. 156, 170, 178, 215 ; XXXII. 147. 


the Pyrenees into Aragon. Even before the Council of Beziers, 
in 1299, took official cognizance of the nascent heresy, the bishops 
of Aragon, assembled at Tarragona in 1297, instituted repressive 
measures against the Begumes who were spreading errors through- 
out the kingdom, and all Franciscan Tertiaries were subjected to 
supervision. Their books in the vulgar tongue were especially 
dreaded, and were ordered to be surrendered. These precautions 
did not avert the evil. As we have seen, Arnaldo de Vilanova 
became a Avarm advocate of the Spirituals ; his indefatigable pen 
was at their service, his writings had wide circulation, and his in- 
fluence with Jayme II. protected them. With his death and that 
of Clement V. persecution commenced. Immediately after the 
latter event, in 1314, the Inquisitor Bernardo de Puycerda, one of 
Arnaldo's special antagonists, undertook their suppression. At 
their head stood a certain Pedro Oler, of Majorca, and Fray Bo- 
nato. They were obstinate, and were handed over to the secular 
arm, when all were burned except Bonato, who recanted on being 
scorched by the flames. He was dragged from the burning pile, 
cured, and condemned to perpetual imprisonment, but after some 
twenty years he was found to be still secretly a Spiritual, and was 
burned as a relapsed in 1335. Emboldened by the accession of 
John XXIL, in November, 1316, Juan de Llotger, the inquisitor, 
and Jofre de Cruilles, provost of the vacant see of Tarragona, 
called together an assembly of Dominicans, Franciscans, and Cis- 
tercians, who condemned the apocalyptic and spiritualistic writ- 
ings of Arnaldo, which were ordered to be surrendered within ten 
days under pain of excommunication. The persecution continued. 
Duran de Baldach was burned as a Spiritual, with a disciple, in 1325. 
About the same time John XXIL issued several bulls command- 
ing strict inquisition to be made for them throughout Aragon, 
Valencia, and the Balearic Isles, and subjecting them to the juris- 
diction of the bishops and inquisitors in spite of any privileges or 
immunities which they might claim as Franciscans. The heresy, 
however, seems never to have obtained any firm foothold on Span- 
ish soil. Yet it penetrated even to Portugal, for Alvaro Pelayo 
tells us that there were in Lisbon some pseudo-Franciscans who 
applauded the doctrine that Peter and his successors had not re- 
ceived from Christ the power which he held on earth.* 

* Concil. Tarraconens. ann. 1297 c. 1-4 (Martene Ampl. Coll. VII. 305-6).— 


A somewhat different development of the Joachitic element is 
seen in the Franciscan Juan de Pera-Tallada or de Pupescissa, 
better known perhaps through Froissart as Jean de la Eoche- 
taillade. As a preacher and missionary he stood pre-eminent, and 
his voice was heard from his native Catalonia to distant Moscow. 
Somewhat given to occult science, various treatises on alchemy 
have been attributed to him, among which Pelayo tells us that 
it is difficult to distinguish the genuine from the doubtful. Xot 
only in this did he follow Arnaldo de Yilanova, but in mercilessly 
lashing the corruptions of the Church, and in commenting on the 
prophecies of the pseudo-Joachim. No man of this school seemed 
able to refrain from indulging in prophecy himself, and Juan 
gained wide reputation by predictions which were justified by the 
event, such as the battle of Poitiers and the Great Schism. Per- 
haps this might have been forgiven had he not also foretold that 
the Church would be stripped of the superfluities which it had so 
shockingly abused. One metaphor which he employed was largely 
quoted. The Church, he said, was a bird born without feathers, 
to which all other fowls contributed plumage, which they would 
reclaim in consequence of its pride and tyranny. Like the Spirit- 
uals he looked fondly back to the primitive days before Const an- 
tine, when in holy poverty the foundations of the faith were laid. 
He seems to have steered clear of the express heresy as to the pov- 
erty of Christ, and when he came to Avignon, in 1319, to proclaim 
his views, although several attempts to burn him were ineffectual, 
he was promptly thrown into jail. He was " durement grand clerc" 
and his accusers were unable to convict him, but he was too dan- 
gerous a man to be at large, and he. was kept in confinement. 
"When he was finally liberated is not stated, but if Pelayo is cor- 
rect in saying that he returned home at the age of ninety he must 
have been released after a long incarceration.* 

Eymeric. pp. 265-6. — Raynald. ann. 1325, No. 20. — Mosheim de Beghardis p. 
641.— Pelayo, Heterodoxos Espanoles, I. 777-81, 783.— For the fate of Arnaldo 
de Vilanova's writings in the Index Expurgatorius, see Reusch, Der Index der 
verbotenen Biicher, I. 33-4. Two of the tracts condemned in 1316 have been 
found, translated into Italian, in a MS. of the Magliabecchian Library, by Prof. 
Tocco, who describes them in the Archivio Storico Italiano, 1886, No. 6, and in 
the Giornale Storico della Lett. Ital. VIII. 3. 

* Pelayo, Heterodoxos Espanoles, I. 500-2. — Jo. de Rupesciss. Vade raecum 


The ostensible cause of his punishment was his Joachitic spec- 
ulation as to Antichrist, though, as Wadding observes, many holy 
men did the same without animadversion, like St. Vicente Ferrer, 
who in 1412 not only predicted Antichrist, but asserted that he 
was already nine years old, and who was canonized, not persecuted. 
Milicz of Cremsier also, as Ave have seen, though persecuted, was 
acquitted. Fray Juan's reveries, however, trenched on the borders 
of the Everlasting Gospel, although keeping within the bounds of 
orthodoxy. In his prison, in November, 1349, he wrote out an 
account of a miraculous vision vouchsafed him in 1345, in return 
for continued prayer and maceration. Louis of Bavaria was the 
Antichrist who would subjugate Europe and Africa in 1366, while 
a similar tyrant would arise in Asia. Then would come a schism 
with two popes ; Antichrist would lord it over the whole earth 
and many heretical sects would arise. After the death of Anti- 
christ would follow fifty-five years of war ; the Jews would be 
converted, and with the destruction of the kingdom of Antichrist 
the Millennium would open. Then the converted Jews would pos- 
sess the world, all would be Tertiaries of St. Francis, and the 
Franciscans would be models of holiness and poverty. The her- 
etics would take refuge in inaccessible mountains and the islands 
of the sea, whence they would emerge at the close of the Millen- 
nium ; the second Antichrist would appear and bring a period of 
great suffering, until fire would fall from heaven and destroy him 
and his followers, after which would follow the end of the world 
and the Day of Judgment.* 

Meditation in prison seems to have modified somewhat his pro- 
phetic vision, and in 1356 he wrote his Vade mecum in Tribula- 
tione, in which he foretold that the vices of the clergy would lead 
to the speedy spoliation of the Church ; in six years it would be 
reduced to a state of apostolical poverty, and by 1370 would com- 
mence the process of recuperation which would bring all mankind 
under the domination of Christ and of his earthly representative 

(Fascic. Rer. Expetend. et Fugiend. II. 497).— Froissart, Liv. I. P. ii. ch. 124 
Liv. in. ch. 27.— Rolewink Fascic. Temp. ann. 1364.— Mag. Chron. Belgic. (Pis 
torii III. 336).— Meyeri Anna!. Flandr. ann. 1359. — Henr. Rebdorff. Annal. ann 
1351.— Paul ^Emylii de Reb. Gest. Francor. (Ed. 1569, pp. 491-2).— M. Flac 
Illyr. Cat. Test. Veritat. Lib. xvnr. p. 1786 (Ed. 1608). 
* Wadding, ann. 1357, No. 17.— Pelayo, op. cit. I. 501-2. 


During the interval there would be a succession of the direst calam- 
ities. From 1360 to 1365 the worms of the earth would arise and 
destroy all beasts and birds ; tempest and deluge and earthquake, 
famine and pestilence and war would sweep away the wicked ; in 
1365 Antichrist would come, and such multitudes would apostatize 
that but few faithful would be left. His reign would be short, 
and in 1370 a pope canonically elected would bring mankind to 
Christianity, after which all cardinals would be chosen from the 
Greek Church. During these tribulations the Franciscans would 
be nearly exterminated, in punishment for their relaxation of the 
Rule, but the survivors would be reformed and the Order would 
fill the earth, innumerable as the stars of heaven ; in fact, two 
Franciscans of the most abject poverty were to be the Elias and 
Enoch who would conduct the Church through that disastrous 
time. Meanwhile he advised that ample store should be made in 
mountain caves of beans and honey, salt meats, and dried fruits by 
those who desired to live through the convulsions of nature and soci- 
ety. After the death of Antichrist would come the Millennium ; for 
seven hundred years, or until about a.d. 2000, mankind would be 
virtuous and happy, but then would come a decline : existing vices, 
especially among the clergy, would be revived, preparatory to the 
advent of Gog and Magog, to be followed by the final Antichrist. 
It shows the sensitiveness of the hierarchy that this harmless 
nympholepsy was deemed worthy of severe repression.* 

The influence of the Everlasting Gospel was not yet wholty 
exhausted. I have alluded above to Thomas of Apulia, who in 
1388 insisted on preaching to the Parisians that the reign of the 
Holy Ghost had commenced, and that he was the divinely com- 
missioned envoy sent to announce it, when his mission was hu- 
manely cut short by confining him as a madman. Singularly 
identical in all but the result was the career of Nicholas of Buldes- 
dorf, who, about 1445, proclaimed that God had commanded him to 
announce that the time of the New Testament had passed away, 
as that of the Old had done ; that the Third Era and Seventh Age 
of the world had come, under the reign of the Holy Ghost, when 
man would be restored to the state of primal innocence ; and that 
he was the Son of God deputed to spread the glad tidings. To 

* Fascic. Rer. Expetend. et Fugiend. II. 494-508. 


the council still sitting at Basle he sent various tracts containing 
these doctrines, and he finally had the audacity to appear before 
it in person. His writings were promptly consigned to the flames 
and he was imprisoned. Every effort was made to induce him to 
recant, but in vain. The Basilian fathers were less considerate of 
insanity than the Paris doctors, and Nicholas perished at the stake 
in 1446.* 

A last echo of the Everlasting Gospel is heard in the teaching 
of two brothers, John and Lewin of Wiirzburg, who in 1466 taught 
in Eger that all tribulations were caused by the wickedness of the 
clergy. The pope was Antichrist, and the cardinals and prelates 
were his members. Indulgences were useless and the ceremonies 
of the Church were vanities, but the time of deliverance was at 
hand. A man was already born of a virgin, who was the anoint- 
ed of Christ and would speedily come with the third Evangel 
and bring all the faithful into the fold. The heresy was rapidly 
and secretly spreading among the people, when it was discovered 
by Bishop Henry of Ratisbon. The measures taken for its sup- 
pression are not recorded, and the incident is only of interest as 
showing how persistently the conviction reappeared that there 
must be a final and higher revelation to secure the happiness of 
man in this world and his salvation in the next.f 

* Fiiesslius neue u. unpartheyische Kirchen- u. Ketzerhistorie, Frankfurt,1772, 
II. 63-66. 

f Chron. Glassberger ann. 1466 (Analecta Franciscana II. 422-6). 



The spiritual exaltation which produced among the Franciscans 
the developments described in the last chapter was by no means 
confined to the recognized members of that Order. It manifested 
itself in even more irregular fashion in the little group of sectaries 
known as Guglieimites, and in the more formidable demonstration 
of the Dolcinists, or Apostolic Brethren. 

About the year 1260 there came to Milan a woman calling 
herself Guglielma. That she brought with her a son shows that 
she had lived in the world, and was doubtless tried with its vicissi- 
tudes, and as the child makes no further appearance in her history, 
he probably died young. She had wealth, and was said to be the 
daughter of Constance, queen and wife of the King of Bohemia. 
Her royal extraction is questionable, but the matter is scarce worth 
the discussion which it has provoked.* She was a woman of pre- 
eminent piety, who devoted herself to good works, without prac- 
tising special austerities, and she gradually attracted around her a 
little band of disciples, to whom such of her utterances as have 
been recorded show that she gave wholesome ethical instruction. 

* Constance, daughter of Bela III. of Hungary, was second wife of Ottokar I. 
of Bohemia, who died in 1230 at the age of eighty. She died in 1240, leaving 
three daughters, Agnes, who founded the Franciscan convent of St. Januarius 
in Prague, which she entered May 18, 1236; Beatrice, who married Otho the 
Pious, of Brandenburg, and Ludomilla, who married Louis I. of Bavaria. Gugli- 
elma can scarce have been either of these (Art de Ver. les Dates, VIII. 17). 
Her disciple, Andrea Saramita, testified that after her death he journeyed to 
Bohemia to obtain reimbursement of certain expenses; he failed in his errand, 
but verified her relationship to the royal house of Bohemia (Andrea Ogniben, I 
Guglielmiti del Secolo XIII., Perugia, 1867, pp. 10-11). — On the other hand, a 
German contemporary chronicler asserts that she came from England (Annal. 
Dominican. Colmariens. ann. 1301— Urstisii III. 33). 


They adopted the style of plain broAvn garment which she habitu- 
ally wore, and seem to have formed a kind of unorganized congre- 
gation, bound together only by common devotion to her.* 

At that period it was not easy to set bounds to veneration ; the 
spiritual world was felt to be in the closest relation with the ma- 
terial, and the development of Joachitism shows how readily re- 
ceived were suggestions that a great change was impending, and a 
new era about to open for mankind. Guglielma's devotees came 
to regard her as a saint, gifted with thaumaturgic power. Some 
of her disciples claimed to be miraculously cured by her — Dr. 
Giacobbe da Ferno of an ophthalmic trouble, and Albertono de' 
Novati of a fistula. Then it was said that she had received the 
supereminent honor of the Stigmata, and although those who pre- 
pared her body for the grave could not see them, this was held to 
be owing to their unworthiness. It was confidently predicted 
that she would convert the Jews and Saracens, and bring all man- 
kind into unity of faith. At last, about 1276, some of the more 
enthusiastic disciples began to whisper that she was the incarna- 
tion of the Holy Ghost, in female form — the Third Person of the 
Trinity, as Christ was of the Second, in the shape of a man. She 
was very God and very man ; it was not alone the body of Christ 
which suffered in the Passion, but also that of the Holy Ghost, so 
that her flesh was the same as that of Christ. The originators of 
this strange belief seem to have been Andrea Saramita, a man of 
standing in Milan, and Suor Maifreda di Pirovano, an Umiliata of 
the ancient convent of Biassono, and a cousin of Matteo Yisconti. 
There is no probability that Guglielma countenanced these absurd 
stories. Andrea Saramita was the only witness who asserted that 
he had them from her direct, and he had a few days before testified 
to the contrary. The other immediate disciples of Guglielma stated 
that she made no pretensions to any supernatural character. When 
people would ask her to cure them or relieve them of trouble she 
would say, " Go, I am not God." When told of the strange beliefs 
entertained of her she strenuously asserted that she was only a 
miserable woman and a vile worm. Marchisio Secco, a monk of 
Chiaravalle, testified that he had had a dispute with Andrea on 
the subject, and they agreed to refer it to her, when she indig- 

* Ogniben, op. cit. pp. 56, 73-5, 103-4. 


nantly replied that she was flesh and bone, that she had brought 
a son with her to Milan, and that if they did not do penance tor 
uttering" such words thev would be condemned to hell. Yet, to 
minds familiar with the promises of the Everlasting Gospel, it 
might well seem that the era of the Holy Ghost would be ushered 
in with such an incarnation." 

Guglielma died August 24, 1381, leaving her property to the 
great Cistercian house of Chiaravalle, near Milan, where she de- 
sired to be buried. There was war at the time between Milan and 
Lodi ; the roads were not safe, and she was temporarily interred in 
the city, while Andrea and Dionisio Cotta went to the Marquis of 
Montferrat to ask for an escort of troops to accompany the cortege. 
The translation of the body took place in October, and was con- 
ducted with great splendor. The Cistercians welcomed the oppor- 
tunity to add to the attractions and revenues of their establish- 
ment. At that period the business of exploiting new saints was 
exceedingly profitable, and was prosecuted with corresponding 
energy. Salimbene complains bitterly of it in referring to a 
speculation made in 1279, at Cremona, out of the remains of a 
drunken vintner named Alberto, whose cult brought crowds of 
devotees with offerings, to the no small gain of all concerned. 
Such things, as we have seen in the case of Armanno Pongilupo 
and others, were constantly occurring, though Salimbene declares 
that the canons forbade the veneration of any one, or picturing 
him as a saint, until the Roman Church had authoritatively passed 
upon his claims. In this Salimbene was mistaken. Zanghino 
Ugolini, a much better authority, assures us that the worship of 
uncanonized saints was not heretical, if it were believed that their 
miracles were worked by God at their intercession, but if it were 
believed that they were worked by the relics without the assent 
of God, then the Inquisition could intervene and punish ; but so 
long as a saint was uncanonized his cult was at the discretion of 
the bishop, who could at any time command its cessation, and the 

* Ogniben. op. cit. pp. 12. 20-1, 35-7. 69. 70. 74, 76, 82, 84-6, 101, 104-6, 116. 

Dr. Andrea Ogniben, to whom we are indebted for the publication of the 
fragmentary remains of the trial of the Guglielmites, thinks that Maifreda di 
Pirovano was a cousin of Matteo Visconti, through his mother, Anastasia di 
Pirovano (op. cit. p. 23). The Continuation of Nangis calls her his half-sister 
(Guillel. Nangiac. Contin. ann. 1317). 


mere fact that miracles were performed was no evidence, as they 
are frequently the work of demons to deceive the faithful.* 

In this case the Archbishop of Milan offered no interference, 
and the worship of Guglielma was soon firmly established. A 
month after the translation Andrea had the body exhumed and 
carried into the church, where he washed it with wine and water 
and arrayed it in a splendid embroidered robe. The washings 
were carefully preserved, to be used as a chrism for the sick ; they 
were placed on the altar of the nunnery of Biassono, and Maifreda 
employed them in anointing the affected parts of those who came 
to be healed. Presently a chapel with an altar arose over her 
tomb, and tradition still points out at Chiaravalle the little oratory 
where she is said to have lain, and a portrait on the wall over the 
vacant tomb is asserted to be hers. It represents her as kneeling 
before the Virgin, to wdiom she is presented by St. Bernard, the 
patron of the abbey ; a crowd of other figures is around her, and 
the whole indicates that those who dedicated it to her represented 
her as merely a saint, and not as an incarnation of the Godhead. 
Another picture of her was placed by Dionisio Cotta in the 
Church of St. Maria fuori di Porta Nuova, and two lamps were 
kept burning before it to obtain her suffrage for the soul of his 
brother interred there. Other pictures were hung in the Church 
of S. Eufemia and in the nunnery of Biassono. In all this the good 
monks of Chiaravalle were not remiss. They kept lighted lamps 
before her altar. Two feast-days w T ere assigned to her — the anni- 
versaries of her death and of her translation — when the devotees 
would assemble at the abbey, and the monks would furnish a 
simple banquet, outside of the walls — for the Cistercian rules for- 
bade the profanation of a woman's presence within the sacred 
enclosure — and some of the monks would discourse eloquently upon 
the saintliness of Guglielma, comparing her to other saints and to 
the moon and stars, and receiving such oblations as the piety of 
the worshippers would offer. Nor was this the only gain to the 
abbey. Giacobbe de' JNovati, one of the believers, belonged to one 
of the noblest families of Milan, and at his castle the Guglielmites 

* Ogniben, op. cit. pp. 30,44, 115.— Salimbene Chronica, pp. 274-6.— Chron. 
Parmens. aim. 1279 (Muratori S. K. I. IX. 791-2).— Zanchini Tract, de Hseret. c. 


were wont to assemble. When he died he instituted the abbey 
as his heir, and the inheritance could not have been inconsider- 
able. There were, doubtless, other instances of similar liberality 
of which the evidences have not reached us.* 

All this was innocent enough, but within the circle of those 
who worshipped Guglielma there was a little band of initiated 
who believed in her as the incarnation of the Holy Ghost. The 
history of the Joachites has shown us the readiness which existed 
to look upon Christianity as a temporary phase of religion, to 
be shortly succeeded by the reign of the Holy Ghost, when the 
Church of Rome would give place to a new and higher organiza- 
tion. It was not difficult, therefore, for. the Guglielmites to per- 
suade themselves that they had enjoyed the society of the Para- 
clete, who was shortly to appear, when the Holy Spirit would be 
received in tongues of flame by the disciples, the heathen and the 
Jew would be converted, and there would be a new church usher- 
ing in the era of love and blessedness, for which man had been 
sighing through the weary centuries. Of this doctrine Andrea 
was chief apostle. He claimed to be the first and only spiritual 
son of Guglielma, from whom he had received the revelation, and 
he embroidered it to suit the credulity of the disciples. The Arch- 
angel Raphael had announced to the blessed Constance the incar- 
nation in her of the Holy Ghost ; a year afterwards, Guglielma 
was born on the holy day of Pentecost ; she had chosen the form 
of a woman, for if she had come as man she would have died like 
Christ, and the whole world would have perished. On one occa- 
sion, in her chamber, she had changed a chair into an ox, and had 
told him to hold it if he could, but when he attempted to do so it 
disappeared. The same indulgences were obtainable by visiting 
her tomb at Chiaravalle as by a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre. 
Wafers which had been consecrated by laying them on the tomb 
were eagerly partaken of by the disciples, as a new form of com- 
munion. Besides the two regular feast-days, there was a third for 
the initiated, significantly held on Pentecost, the day when she 
was expected to reappear. Meanwhile, the devotion of the faith- 
ful was stimulated by stories of her being in communication with 

* Ogniben, op. cit. pp. 20-1, 25-6, 31, 36, 49-50, 56-7, 61, 72-3, 74, 93-4, 104, 
116.— Tamburini, Storia dell' Inquisizione, II. 17-18. 


her representatives, both in her own form and in that of a dove. 
How slight w r as the evidence required for believers was seen in an 
incident which gave them great comfort in 1293. At a banquet 
in the house of Giacobbe da Ferno, a warm discussion arose be- 
tween those who doubted and those whose convictions were 
decided. Carabella, wife of Amizzone Toscano, one of the earnest 
believers, was sitting on her mantle, and when she arose she found 
three knots in the cords which had not been there before. This 
was at once pronounced a great miracle, and was evidently re- 
garded as a full confirmation of the truth.* 

If it were not for the tragedy which followed there would be 
nothing to render Guglielmitism other than a jest, for the Church 
which was to replace the massive structure of Latin Christianity 
was as ludicrous in its conception as these details of its faith. The 
Gospels were to be replaced by sacred writings produced by An- 
drea, of which he had already prepared several, in the names of 
some of the initiated — " The Epistle of Sibilia to the JNTovaresi," 
" The Prophecy of Carmeo the Prophet to all Cities and Nations," 
and an account of Guglielma's teachings commencing, "In that 
time the Holy Ghost said to his disciples." Maifreda also com- 
posed litanies of the Holy Ghost and prayers for the use of the 
Church. When, on the second advent of Guglielma, the papacy 
was to pass away, Maifreda was to become pope, the vicar of the 
Holy Ghost, with the keys of heaven and hell, and baptize the 
Jew and the Saracen. A new college of cardinals was to be formed, 
of whom only one appears to have been selected — a girl named 
Taria, who, to judge from her answers when before the Inquisi- 
tion, and the terms of contempt in which she is alluded to by some 
of the sect, was a worthy representative of the whole absurd 
scheme. While awaiting her exaltation to the papacy Maifreda 
w T as the object of special veneration. The disciples kissed her 
hands and feet, and she gave them her blessing. It was probably 
the spiritual excitement caused by the jubilee proclaimed by Boni- 
face VIII. , attracting pilgrims to Rome by the hundred thousand 
to gain the proffered indulgences, which led the Guglielmites to 
name the Pentecost of 1300 for the advent of the Holy Ghost. 
With a curious manifestation of materialism, the worshippers pre- 

# Ogniben, op. cit pp. 21, 25, 30, 36, 55. 70, 72, 96.101. 


pared splendid garments for the adornment of the expected God — 
a purple mantle with a silver clasp costing thirty pounds of ter- 
zioli, gold-embroidered silks and gilt slippers — while Pietra de' Al~ 
zate contributed forty -two dozen pearls, and Catella de' Giorgi 
gave an ounce of pearls. In preparation for her new and holy 
functions, Maifreda undertook to celebrate the mysteries of the 
mass. During the solemnities of Easter, in sacerdotal vestments, 
she consecrated the host, while Andrea in a dalmatic read the 
Gospel, and she administered communion to those present. When 
should come the resurrection of Guglielma, she was to repeat the 
ceremony in S. Maria Maggiore, and the sacred vessels were al- 
ready prepared for this, on an extravagant scale, costing more 
than two hundred lire." 

The sums thus lavished show that the devotees belonged to 
the wealthy class. AVhat is most noteworthy, in fact, in the whole 
story, is that a belief so absurd should have found acceptance 
among men of culture and intelligence, showing the spirit of un- 
rest that was abroad, and the readiness to accept any promise, 
however wild, of relief from existing evils. There were few more 
prominent families in Milan than the Garbagnati, who were Ghibel- 
lines and closely allied with the Visconti. Gasparo Garbagnate 
filled many positions of importance, and though his name does not 
appear among the sectaries, his wife Benvenuta was one of them, 
as well as his two sons, Ottorino and Francesco, and Bella, the 
wife of Giacobbe. Francesco was a man of mark as a diplomat 
and a lawyer. Sent by Matteo Yisconti in 1309 on a mission to 
the Emperor Henry TIL, he won high favor at the imperial court 
and obtained the objects for which he had been despatched. He 
ended his career as a professor of jurisprudence in the renowned 
University of Padua. Yet this man, presumably learned and cool- 
headed, was an ardent disciple, who purchased gold-embroidered 
silks for the resurrection of Guglielma, and composed prayers in 
her honor. One of the crimes for which Matteo was condemned 
in 1323 by the Inquisition was retaining in his service this Fran- 
cesco Garbagnate, who had been sentenced to wear crosses for his 
participation in the Guglielmite heresy ; and when John XXII., in 

* Ogniben, op. cit. pp. 17, 20, 22, 23, 30, 34, 37, 40, 42, 47, 54, 62, 72, 80, 90, 
94, 96. 


1324:, confirmed the sentence, he added that Matteo had terrorized 
the inquisitors to save his son Galeazzo, who was also a Gugliel- 

When the heresy became known popular rumor of course at- 
tributed to it the customary practices of indiscriminate sexual in- 
dulgence which were ascribed to all deviations from the faith. 
In the legend which was handed down by tradition there appears 
the same story as to its discovery which we have seen told at 
Cologne about the Brethren of the Free Spirit — of the husband 
tracking his wife to the nocturnal rendezvous, and thus learning 
the obscene practices of the sect. In this case the hero of the 
tale is Corrado Coppa, whose wife Giacobba was an earnest be- 
liever, f It is sufficient to say that the official reports of the trial, 
in so far as they have reached us, contain no allusions whatever 
to any licentious doctrines or practices. The inquisitors wasted 
no time on inquiries in that direction, showing that they knew 
there was nothing of the kind to reward investigation. 

Numerically speaking, the sect was insignificant. It is men- 
tioned that on one occasion, at a banquet in honor of Guglielma, 
given by the monks of Chiaravalle, there were one hundred and 
twenty -nine persons present, but these doubtless included many 
who only reverenced her as a saint. The inner circle of the ini- 
tiated was apparently much smaller. The names of those incul- 
pated in the confessions before the Inquisition amount only to 
about thirty, and it is fair to assume that the number of the sec- 
taries at no time exceeded thirty-five or forty 4 

It is not to be supposed that this could go on for nearly twenty 
years and wholly escape the vigilance of the Milanese inquisitors. 
In 1284, but a few years after Guglielma's death, two of the dis- 
ciples, Allegranza and Carabella, incautiously revealed the myste- 
ries of their faith to Belfiore, mother of Fra Enrico di Nova, who 
at once conveyed it to the inquisitor, Fra Manfredo di Dona via. 
Andrea was forthwith summoned, with his wife Riccadona, his 
sister, Migliore, and his daughter, Fiord ebellina ; also Maifreda, 

* Ogniben, op. cit. pp. 65-7, 83-4, 90-1, 110.— Ughelli, T. IV. pp. 286-93 (Ed. 
1652).— Raynald. ann. 1324, No. 7-11. 

t Philip. Bergomat. Supplem. Chron. ann. 1298.— Bern. Corio Hist, Milanes. 
ann. 1300. 

I Ogniben, op. cit. pp. 1, 2, 34, 74, 110.— Tainburini, op. cit. II. 67-8. 

III.— 7 


Bellacara de' Carentani, Giacobba dei Bassani, and possibly some 
others. They readily abjured and were treated with exceptional 
mildness, for Fra Manfredo absolved them by striking them over 
the shoulders with a stick, as a symbol of the scourging which as 
penitents they had incurred. He seems to have attached little 
importance to the matter, and not to have compelled them to 
reveal their accomplices. Again, in 1295 and 1296, there was an 
investigation made by the Inquisitor Fra Tommaso di Como, of 
which no details have reached us, but which evidently left the 
leaders unharmed.* 

We do not know what called the attention of the Inquisition to 
the sect in the spring of 1300, but we may conjecture that the ex- 
pected resurrection of Guglielma at the coming Pentecost, and the 
preparations made for that event, caused an agitation among the 
disciples leading possibly to incautious revelations. About Easter 
(April 10) the inquisitors summoned and examined Maifreda, Gia- 
cobba dei Bassani, and possibly some others, but without result. 
Apparently, however, they were watched, secret information was 
gathered, and in July the Holy Office was ready to strike effec- 
tively. On July 18 a certain Fra Ghirardo presented himself to 
Lanfranco de' Amizzoni and revealed the whole affair, with the 
names of the principal disciples. Andrea sought him out and en- 
deavored to learn what he had said, but was merely told to look 
to himself, for the inquisitors were making many threats. On the 
20th Andrea was summoned ; his assurances that he had never 
heard that Guglielma was regarded -as more than an ordinary 
saint were apparently accepted, and he was dismissed with or- 
ders to return the next day and meanwhile to preserve absolute 
secrecy, f 

Andrea and Maifreda were thoroughly frightened ; they begged 
the disciples, if called before the inquisitors, to preserve silence 
with regard to them, as otherwise they could not escape death. 
It is a peculiar illustration of the recognized hostility between the 
two Mendicant Orders that the first impulse was to seek assist- 
ance from the Franciscans. Xo sooner were the citations issued 
than Andrea, with the Doctor Beltramo da Ferno, one of the ear- 

* Ogniben, pp. 14, 23, 33, 36, 39, 60, 72, 101, 110, 114. 
t Ibid. pp. 13,30-33,39. 


nest believers, went to the Franciscan convent, where they learned 
from Fra Daniele da Ferno that Fra Guidone de Cocchenato and 
the rest of the inquisitors had no power to act, as their commis- 
sions had been annulled by the pope, and that Fra Pagano di Pie- 
tra Santa had a bull to that effect. Some intrigue would seem to 
be behind this, which it would be interesting to disentangle, for 
we meet here with old acquaintances. Fra Guidone is doubtless 
the same inquisitor whom we have seen in 1279 participating in 
the punishment of Corrado da Yenosta, and Fra Pagano has come 
before us as the subject of a prosecution for heresy in 1295. Pos- 
sibly it was this which now stimulated his zeal against the inquisi- 
tors, for when the Guglielmites called upon him the next day he 
produced the bull and urged them to appear, and thus afford him 
evidence that the inquisitors were discharging their functions — 
evidence for which he said that he would willingly give twenty- 
five lire. It is a striking proof of the impenetrable secrecy in 
which the operations of the Inquisition were veiled that he had 
been anxiously and vainly seeking to obtain testimony as to who 
were really discharging the duties of the tribunal ; when, latterly, 
a heretic had been burned at Balsemo he had sent thither to find 
out who had rendered the sentence, but was unable to do so. 
Then the Guglielmites applied to the Abbot of Chiaravalle and to 
one of his monks, Marchisio di Yeddano, himself suspected of Gug- 
lielmitism. These asked to have a copy of the bull, and one was 
duly made by a notary and given to them, which they took to the 
Archbishop of Milan at Cassano, and asked him to place the in- 
vestigation of the matter in their hands. He promised to inter- 
vene, but if he did so he was probably met with the information, 
which had been speedily elicited from the culprits, that they held 
Boniface VIII. not to be pope, and consequently that the arch- 
bishop whom he had created was not archbishop. Either in this 
or in some other way the prelate's zeal was refrigerated, and he 
offered no opposition to the proceedings.* 

* Ogniben, pp. 21, 40, 42, 78-9. 

Dionese de' Novati deposed (p. 93) that Maifreda was in the habit of saying 
that Boniface was not truly pope, and that another pontiff had been created. 
We have seen that the Spiritual Franciscans had gone through the form of 
electing a new pope. There was not much in common between them and the 
Guglielmites, and yet this would point to some relations as existing. 


The Inquisition was well manned, for, besides Fra Guidone, 
whose age and experience seem to have rendered him the leading 
actor in the tragedy, and Lanfranco, who took little part in it, we 
meet with a third inquisitor, Rainerio di Pirovano, and in their 
absence they are replaced with deputies, Niccold di Como, Niccolo 
di Yarenna, and Leonardo da Bergamo. They pushed the matter 
with relentless energy. That torture was freely used there can 
be nc doubt. Xo conclusion to the contrary can be drawn from 
the absence of allusion to it in the depositions of the accused, for 
this is customary. Xot only do the historians of the affair speak 
without reserve of its employment, but the character of the suc- 
cessive examinations of the leading culprits indicates it unerring- 
ly — the confident asseverations at first of ignorance and innocence, 
followed, after a greater or less interval, with unreserved confes- 
sion. This is especially notable in the cases of those who had 
abjured in 1284, such as Andrea, Maifreda, and Giacobba, who, 
as relapsed, knew that by admitting their persistent heresy they 
were condemning themselves to the flames without hope of mercy, 
and who therefore had nothing to gain by confession, except ex- 
emption from repetition of torment." 

The documents are too imperfect for us to reconstruct the proc- 
ess and ascertain the fate of all of those implicated. In Langue- 
doc, after all the evidence had been taken, there would have been 
an assembly held in which their sentences would have been deter- 
mined, and at a solemn Sermo these would have been promul- 
gated, and the stake would have received its victims. Much less 
formal were the proceedings at Milan. The only sentence of which 
we have a record was rendered August 23 in an assembly where 
the archbishop sat with the inquisitors and Matteo Yisconti ap- 
pears among the assessors ; and in this the only judgment was on 
Suor Giacobba dei Bassani, who, as a relapsed, was necessarily 
handed over to the secular arm for burning. It would seem that 

* Compare Andrea's first examination, July 20 (Ogniben, op. cit. pp. 8-13), 
and his second, Aug. 10 (pp. 56-7), with his defiant assertion of his belief, Aug. 
13 (pp. 68-72). So, Maifreda's first interrogatory, July 31 (pp. 2£-6), with her 
confession, Aug. 6, and revelation of the names of her worshippers (pp. 33-5). 
Also, Giacobba dei Bassani's denial, Aug. 3, and confession, Aug. 11 (p. 39). It 
is the same with those not relapsed. See Suor Agnese dei Montanari's flat de- 
nial, Aug. 3, and her confession, Aug. 11 (pp. 37-8). 



even before this Ser Mirano di Garbagnate, a priest deeply impli- 
cated, had been burned. Andrea was executed probably between 

September 1 and 9, and Maifreda about the same time but we 

know nothing about the date of the other executions, or of the 
exhumation and cremation of Guglielma's bones — while the exam- 
inations of other disciples continued until the middle of October. 
Another remarkable peculiarity is that for the minor penalties 
the inquisitors called in no experts and did not even consult the 
archbishop, but acted wholly at their own discretion, a single 
frate absolving or penancing each individual as he saw fit. The 
Lombard Inquisition apparently had little deference for the epis- 
copate, even of the Ambrosian Church.* 

Yet the action of the Inquisition was remarkable for its mild- 
ness, especially when we consider the revolutionary character of 
the heresy. The number of those absolutely burned cannot be 
definitely stated, but it probably did not exceed four or five. 
These were the survivors of those who had abjured in 1284, for 
whom, as relapsed and obstinate heretics, there could be no mercy 
The rest were allowed to escape with penalties remarkably light. 
Thus Sibilia Malcolzati had been one of the most zealous of the 
sect ; in her early examinations she had resolutely perjured her- 
self, and it had cost no little trouble to make her confess, yet 
when, on October 6, she appeared before Fra Kainerio and begged 
to be relieved from the excommunication which she had incurred, 
he was moved by her prayers and assented, on the ordinary con- 
ditions that she would stand to the orders of the Church and 
Inquisition, and perform the obligations laid upon her. Still more 
remarkable is the leniency with which two sisters, Catella and 
Pietra Oldegardi, were treated, for Fra Guidone absolved them on 
their abjuring their heresy, contenting himself with simply refer- 
ring them to their confessors for the penance which they were to 
perform. The severest punishment recorded for any except the 
relapsed was the wearing of crosses, and these, imposed in Sep- 
tember and October, were commuted in December for a fine of 
twenty-five lire, payable in February — showing that confiscation 
was not a part of the penalty. Even Taria, the expectant cardinal 
of the New Dispensation, was thus penanced and relieved. Im- 

* Ogniben, pp. 19-20, 77, 91. 


mediately after Andrea's execution an examination of his wife 
Riccadona, as to the furniture in her house and the wine in her 
cellar, shows that the Inquisition was prompt in looking after the 
confiscations of those condemned to death ; and the fragment of 
an interrogatory, February 12, 1302, of Marchisio Secco, a monk 
of Chiaravalle, indicates that it was involved in a struggle with 
the abbey to compel the refunding of the bequest of Guglielma, 
as the heresy for which she had been condemned, of course, ren- 
dered void all dispositions of her property. How this resulted we 
have no means of knowing, but we may feel assured that the ab- 
bey was forced to submit ; indeed, the complicity of the monks 
with the heretics was so clearly indicated that we may wonder 
none of their names appear in the lists of those condemned.* 

Thus ended this little episode of heresy, of no importance in 
its origin or results, but curious from the glimpse which it affords 
into the spiritual aberrations of the time, and the procedure of 
the Lombard Inquisition, and noteworthy as a rare instance of 
inquisitorial clemency.f 

* Ogniben, pp. 42-4, 63, 67-8, 81-2, 91-2, 95-6, 97, 100, 110, 113, 115-16. 

t Spiritual eccentricities, such as those of the Guglielmites, are not to be 
regarded as peculiar to any age or any condition of civilization. The story of 
Joanna Southcote is well known, and the Southcottian Church maintained its 
existence in London until the middle of the present century. In July, 1886, the 
American journals reported the discovery, in Cincinnati, of a sect even more 
closely approximating to the Guglielmites, and about as numerous, calling them- 
selves Perfectionists, and believing in two married sisters — a Mrs. Martin as an 
incarnation of God, and a Mrs. Brooke as that of Christ. Like their predeces- 
sors in Milan the sect is by no means confined to the illiterate, but comprises 
people of intelligence and culture who have abandoned all worldly occupation 
in the expectation of the approaching Millennium — the final era of the Ever- 
lasting Gospel. The exposure for a time broke up the sect, of which some mem- 
bers departed, while others, with the two sisters, joined a Methodist church. 
Their faith was not shaken, however, and in June. 1887, the church expelled 
them after an investigation. One of the charges against them was that they 
held the Church of the present day to be Babylon and the abomination of the 
earth. England has also recently had a similar experience in a peasant woman 
of not particularly moral life who for some fifteen years, until her death, Sep- 
tember 18, 1886, was regarded by her followers as a new incarnation of Christ. 
Her own definition of herself was, " I am the second appearing and incarnation 
of Jesus, the Christ of God, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, the God-Mother and 
Saviour, Life from Heaven," etc., etc. She signed herself " Jesus, First and 


About the time when Griiglielma settled in Milan, Parma wit- 
nessed the commencement of another abnormal development of 
the great Franciscan movement. The stimulus which monachism 
had received from the success of the Mendicant Orders, the exal- 
tation of poverty into the greatest of virtues, the recognition of 
beggary as the holiest mode of life, render it difficult to apportion 
between yearnings for spiritual perfection and the attractions of 
idleness and vagabondage in a temperate climate the responsibil- 
ity for the numerous associations which arose in imitation of the 
Mendicants. The prohibition of unauthorized religious orders by 
the Lateran Council was found impossible of enforcement. Men 
would herd together with more or less of organization in caves 
and hermitages, in the streets of cities, and in abandoned dwell- 
ings and churches by the roadsides. The Carmelites and Augus- 
tinian hermits won recognition after a long struggle, and became 
established Orders, forming, with the Franciscans and Dominicans, 
the four Mendicant religions. Others, less reputable, or more 
independent in spirit, were condemned, and when they refused 
to disband they were treated as rebels and heretics. In the ten- 
sion of the spiritual atmosphere, any man who would devise and 
put in practice a method of life assimilating him most nearly to 
the brutes would not fail to find admirers and followers ; and, if 
he possessed capacity for command and organization, he could 
readily mould them into a confraternity and become an object of 
veneration, with an abundant supply of offerings from the pious. 

The year 1260 was that in which, according to Abbot Joachim, 
the era of the Holy Ghost was to open. The spiritual excitement 
which pervaded the population was seen in the outbreak of the 
Flagellants, which filled northern Italy with processions of peni- 
tents scourging themselves, and in the mutual forgiveness of inju- 
ries, which brought an interval of peace to a distracted land. In 
such a condition of public feeling, gregarious enthusiasm is easily 
directed to whatever responds to the impulse of the moment, and 

Last, Mary Ann Girling." At one time her sect numbered a hundred and sev- 
enty-five members, some of them rich enough to make it considerable donations, 
but under the petty persecution of the populace it dwindled latterly to a few, 
and finally dispersed. Aberrations of this nature belong to no special stage of 
intellectual development. The only advance made in modem times is in the 
method of dealing with them. 


the self-mortification of a youth of Parma, called Gherardo Sega- 
relli, found abundant imitators. Of low extraction, uncultured 
and stupid, he had vainly applied for admission into the Franciscan 
Order. Denied this, he passed his days vacantly musing in the 
Franciscan church. The beatitude of ecstatic abstraction, carried 
to the point of the annihilation of consciousness, has not been con- 
fined to the Tapas and Samadhi of the Brahman and Buddhist. 
The monks of Mt. Athos, known as Umbilicani from their pious 
contemplation of their navels, knew it well, and Jacopone da Todi 
shows that its dangerous raptures were familiar to the zealots of 
the time.* Segarelli, however, was not so lost to external im- 
pressions but that he remarked in the scriptural pictures which 
adorned the walls the representations of the apostles in the habits 
which art has assigned to them. The conception grew upon him 
that the apostolic life and vestment would form the ideal religious 
existence, superior even to that of the Franciscans which had been 
denied to him. As a preliminary, he sold his little property ; then, 
mounting the tribune in the Piazza, he scattered the proceeds among 
the idlers sunning themselves there, who forthwith gambled it 
away with ample floods of blasphemy. Imitating literally the 
career of Christ, he had himself circumcised ; then, enveloped in 
swaddling clothes, he was rocked in a cradle and suckled by a 
woman. His apprenticeship thus completed, he embarked on the 
career of an apostle, letting hair and beard grow, enveloped in a 
white mantle, with the Franciscan cord around his waist, and san- 
dals on his feet. Thus accoutred he wandered through the streets 
of Parma crying at intervals " Penitenzagite" which was his igno- 
rant rendering of " Penitentiam agite /" — the customary call to 
repentance, f 

For a while he had no imitators. In search of disciples he wan- 
dered to the neighboring village of Collechio, where, standing at 
the roadside, he shouted " Enter my vineyard I" The passers-bv 
who knew his crazy ways paid no attention to him, but strangers 
took his call to be an invitation to help themselves from the 

* "0 glorioso stare Annichilarsi bene 

In nihil quietato ! Nod e potere humano 

Lo' intelletto posato Anzi e virtu divina !" 
E Faffetto dormire ! 

t Salimbene, pp. 112-13. 

(Coinba, La Riforma in Italia, I. 310.) 


ripening grapes of an adjacent vineyard, which they accordingly 
stripped. At length he was joined by a certain Kobert, a servant 
of the Franciscans, who, as Salimbene informs us, was a liar and 
a thief, too lazy to work, who flourished for a while in the sect as 
Fra Glutto, and who finally apostatized and married a female her- 
mit. Gherardo and Glutto wandered through the streets of Parma 
in their white mantles and sandals, calling the people to repent- 
ance. They gathered associates, and the number rapidly grew to 
three hundred. They obtained a house in which to eat and sleep, 
and lacked for nothing, for alms came pouring in upon them more 
liberally than on the regular Mendicants. These latter wondered 
greatly, for the self-styled Apostles gave nothing in return — they 
could not preach, or hear confessions, or celebrate mass, and did 
not even pray for their benefactors. They were mostly ignorant 
peasants, swineherds and cowherds, attracted by an idle life which 
was rewarded with ample victuals and popular veneration. When 
gathered together in their assemblies they would gaze vacantly 
on Segarelli and repeat at intervals in honor of him, "Father! 
Father! Father!"* 

When the Council of Lyons, in 1274, endeavored to control the 
pest of these unauthorized mendicant associations, it did not dis- 
perse them, but contented itself with prohibiting the reception of 
future members, in the expectation that they would thus gradu- 
ally become extinguished. This was easily eluded by the Apostles, 
who, when a neophyte desired to join them, would lay before him 
a habit and say, " We do not dare to receive you, as this is pro- 
hibited to us, but it is not prohibited to you ; do as you think fit." 
Thus, in spite of papal commands, the Order increased and mul- 
tiplied, as we are told, beyond computation. In 1284 we hear of 
seventy-two postulants in a body passing through Modena and 
Eeggio to Parma to be adopted by Segarelli, and a few days after- 
wards twelve young girls came on the same errand, wrapped in 
their mantles and styling themselves Apostolesses. Imitating 
Dominic and Francis, Segarelli sent his followers throughout Eu- 
rope and beyond seas to evangelize the world. They penetrated 
far, for already in 1287 we find the Council of Wiirzburg stigma- 
tizing the wandering Apostles as tramps, and forbidding any one 

* Salimbene, pp. 114-16. 


to give them food on account of their religious aspect and unusual 
dress. Pedro de Lugo (Galicia), who abjured before the Inquisition 
of Toulouse in 1322, testified that he had been inducted in the sect 
twenty years previous by Richard, an Apostle from Alessandria in 
Lombardy, who was busily spreading the heresy beyond Compos- 

Xot withstanding the veneration felt by the brethren for Sega- 
relli he steadily refused to assume the headship of the Order, say- 
ing that each must bear his own burden. Had he been an active 
organizer, with the material at his disposition, he might have given 
the Church much trouble, but he was inert and indisposed to aban- 
don his contemplative self-indulgence. He seems to have hesitated 
somewhat as to the form which the association should assume, and 
consulted Alberto of Parma, one of the seven notaries of the curia, 
whether they should select a superior. Alberto referred him to 
the Cistercian Abbot of Fontanaviva, who advised that they should 
not found houses, but should continue to wander over the land 
wrapped in their mantles, and they would not fail of shelter by 
the charitable. Segarelli was nothing loath to follow his counsel, 
but a more energetic spirit was found in Guidone Putagi, brother 
of the Podesta of Bologna, who entered the Order with his sister 
Tripia. Finding that Segarelli would not govern, he seized com- 
mand and for many years conducted affairs, but he gave offence 
by abandoning the poverty which was the essence of the associa- 
tion. He lived splendidly, we are told, with many horses, lavish- 
ing money like a cardinal or papal legate, till the brethren grew 
tired and elected Matteo of Ancona as his successor. This led to 
a split. Guidone retained possession of the person of Segarelli, 
and carried him to Faenza. Matteo's followers came there and 
endeavored to seize Segarelli by force ; the two parties came to 
blows and the Anconitans were defeated. Guidone, however, was 
so much alarmed for his safety that he left the Apostles and joined 
the Templars. f 

Bishop Opizo of Parma, a nephew of Innocent IV., had a liking 

* Concil. Lugdun. ann. 1274 c. 23.— Salimbene, pp. 117, 119, 329-30.— Con- 
cil. Herbipolens. ann. 1287 (Harduin. VII. 1141).— Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolosan. 
p. 360. 

t Salimbene, pp. 114-16. 


for Segarelli, and for his sake protected the Apostles, which serves 
to account for their uninterrupted growth. In 1286, however, 
three of the brethren misbehaved flagrantly at Bologna, and were 
summarily hanged by the podesta. This seems to have drawn at- 
tention to the sectaries, for about the same time Honorius IV. 
issued a bull especially directed against them. They were com- 
manded to abandon their peculiar vestments and enter some recog- 
nized order ; prelates were required to enforce obedience by im- 
prisonment, with recourse, if necessary, to the secular arm, and the 
faithful at large were ordered not to give them alms or hospitality. 
The Order was thus formally proscribed. Bishop Opizo hastened 
to obey. He banished the brethren from his diocese and impris- 
oned Segarelli in chains, but subsequently relenting kept him in 
his palace as a jester, for when filled with wine the Apostle could 
be amusing.* 

For some years we hear little of Segarelli and his disciples. 
The papal condemnation discouraged them, but it received scant 
obedience. Their numbers may have diminish ed, and public charity 
may have been to some extent withdrawn, but they were still nu- 
merous, they continued lo wear the white mantle, and to be sup- 
ported in their wandering life. The best evidence that the bull of 
Honorius failed in its purpose is the fact that in 1291 Nicholas IY. 
deemed its reissue necessary. They were now in open antagonism 
to the Holy See — rebels and schismatics, rapidly ripening into her- 
etics, and fair subjects of persecution. Accordingly, in 1494, we 
hear of four of them — two men and two women — burned at Parma, 
and of Segarelli' s condemnation to perpetual imprisonment by 
Bishop Opizo. There is also an allusion to an earnest missionary 
of the sect, named Stephen, dangerous on account of the eloquence 
of his preaching, who was burned by the Inquisition. Segarelli had 
saved his life by abjuration , possibly after a few years he may 
have been released, but he did not abandon his errors ; the Inquisi- 
tor of Parma, Fra Manfredo, convicted him as a relapsed heretic, 
and he was burned in Parma in 1300. An active persecution fol- 
lowed of his disciples. Many were apprehended by the Inquisition 

* Salimbene, pp. 117, 371. — Mag. Bull. Rom. 1. 158. — At the same time Hono- 
rius approved the Orders of the Carmelites and of St. William of the Desert 
(Raynald. aun. 1286, No. 3G, 37). 


and subjected to various punishments, until Parma congratulated 
itself that the heresy was fairly stamped out.* 

Persecution, as usual, had the immediate effect of scattering 
the heretics, of confirming them in the faith, and of developing 
the heresv into a more decided antagonism towards the Church. 
Segarelli's disciples were not all ignorant peasants. In Tuscany a 
Franciscan of high reputation for sanctity and learning was in secret 
an active missionary, and endeavored even to win over Ubertino 
da Casale. Ubertino led him on and then betrayed him, and when 
we are told that he was forced to reveal his followers, we may as- 
sume that he was subjected to the customary inquisitorial proc- 
esses. This points to relationship between the Apostles and the 
disaffected Franciscans, and the indication is strengthened bv the 
anxiety of the Spirituals to disclaim all connection. The Apostles 
were deeply tinged with Joachitism, and the Spirituals endeavor 
to hide the fact bv attributing- their errors to Joachim's detested 
heretic imitator, the forgotten Amaury. The Conventuals, in fact, 
did not omit this damaging method of attack, and in the contest 
before Clement V. the Spirituals were obliged to disavow all con- 
nection with Dolcinism.f 

TTe know nothing of any peculiar tenets taught by Segarelli. 
From his character it is not likelv that he indulged in anv recondite 
speculations, while the toleration which he enjoyed until near the 
end of his career probably prevented him from formulating any 
revolutionary doctrines. To wear the habit of the association, to 
live in absolute poverty, without labor and depending on daily 
charity, to take no thought of the morrow, to wander without a 
home, calling upon the people to repent, to preserve the strictest 
chastity, was the sum of his teaching, so far as we know, and this 
remained to the last the exterior observance of the Apostles. It 
was rigidly enforced. Even the austerity of the Franciscans al- 
lowed the friar two gowns, as a concession to health and comfort, 
but the Apostle could have but one, and if he desired it washed he 

* Mag. Bull. Rom. I. 158.— Chron. Parmens. aim. 1294 (Muratori S. R. I. IX. 
82G). — Hist. Tribulat. (Archiv fur Litt.- u. Kirchengeschicbte, 1886, p. 130).— 
Addit. ad Hist. Prat Dulcini (Muratori IX. 450). 

t Hist. Tribulat. (ubi sup.).— Ubertiui Responsio (Archiv f. L. u. K. 1887, p. 


had to remain covered in bed until it was dried. Like the Wal- 
denses and Cathari, the Apostles seem to have considered the use 
of the oath as unlawful. They were accused, as usual, of incul- 
cating promiscuous intercourse, and this charge seemed substan- 
tiated by the mingling of the sexes in their wandering life, and by 
the crucial test of continence to which they habitually exposed 
themselves, in imitation of the early Christians, of lying together 
naked ; but the statement of their errors drawn up by the inquisi- 
tors who knew them, for the instruction of their colleagues, shows 
that license formed no part of their creed, though it would not be 
safe to say that men and women of evil life may not have been 
attracted to join them by the idleness and freedom from care of 
their wandering existence.* 

By the time of Grherardo's death, however, persecution had been 
sufficiently sharp and long-continued to drive the Apostles into 
denying the authority of the Holy See and formulating doctrines 
of pronounced hostility to the Church. An epistle written by 
Fra Dolcino, about a month after Segarelli's execution, shows that 
minds more powerful than that of the founder had been at work 
framing a body of principles suited to zealots chafing under the 
domination of a corrupt church, and eagerly yearning for a higher 
theory of life than it could furnish. Joachim had promised that 
the era of the Holy Ghost should open with the year 1260. That 
prophecy had been fulfilled by the appearance of Segarelli, whose 
mission had then commenced. Tacitly accepting this coincidence, 
Dolcino proceeds to describe four successive states of the Church. 
The first extends from the Creation to the time of Christ ; the sec- 
ond from Christ to Silvester and Constantine, during which the 
Church was holy and poor ; the third from Silvester to Segarelli, 
during which the Church declined, in spite of the reforms intro- 
duced by Benedict, Dominic, and Francis, until it had wholly lost 

* Salimbene, pp. 113, 117, 121.— Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolos. pp. 360-1.— Mura- 
tori S. R. I. IX. 455-7.— Bern. Guidon. Practica P. v. — Eymeric. P. n. Q. 11. 

The test of continence was regarded with horror by the inquisitors, and yet 
when practised by St. Aldhelm it was considered as proof of supereminent 
sanctity (Girald. Cambrens. Gemm. Eccles. Dist. n. c. xv.). The coincidence, in 
fact, is remarkable between the perilous follies of the Apostles and those of the 
Christian zealots of the third century, as described and condemned by Cyprian 
(Epist. rv. ad Pompon.). 


the charity of God. The fourth state was commenced by Sega- 
relli, and will last till the Day of Judgment. Then follow prophe- 
cies which seem to be based on those of the Pseudo-Joachim's 
Commentaries on Jeremiah. The Church now is honored, rich, 
and wicked, and will so remain until all clerks, monks, and friars 
are cut off with a cruel death, which will happen within three 
years. Frederic, King of Trinacria, who had not yet made his 
peace with the Holy See, was regarded as the coming avenger, in 
consequence, doubtless, of his relations with the Spirituals and his 
tendencies in their favor. The epistle concludes with a mass of 
Apocalyptical prophecies respecting the approaching advent of 
Antichrist, the triumph of the saints, and the reign of holy pov- 
erty and love, which is to follow under a saintly pope. The seven 
angels of the churches are declared to be Benedict, of Ephesus ; 
Silvester, of Pergamus ; Francis, of Sardis ; Dominic, of Laodicea ; 
Segarelli, of Smyrna ; Dolcino himself, of Thyatira ; and the holy 
pope to come, of Philadelphia. Dolcino announces himself as the 
special envoy of God, sent to elucidate Scripture and the prophe- 
cies, while the clergy and the friars are the ministers of Satan, 
who persecute now, but who will shortly be consumed, when he 
and his followers, with those who join them, will prevail till the 

Segarelli had perished at the stake, July 18, and already in 
August here was a man assuming with easy assurance the danger- 
ous position of heresiarch, proclaiming himself the mouthpiece of 
God, and promising his followers speedy triumph in reward for 
what they might endure under his leadership. Whether or not 
he believed his own prophecies, whether he was a wild fanatic or 
a skilful charlatan, can never be absolutely determined, but the 
balance of probability lies in his truthfulness. With all his gifts 
as a born leader of men, it is safe to assert that if he had not be- 
lieved in his mission he could not have inspired his followers with 
the devotion which led them to stand by him through sufferings 
unendurable to ordinary human nature ; while the cool sagacity 
which he displayed under the most pressing emergencies must 

* Muratori IX. 449-53.— Guill. Nangiac. Contin. ami. 1306.— R. Fran. Pipini 
Chron. cap. xv. (Muratori, IX. 599).— Cf. Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolos. p. 360.^ 
Pelayo, Heterodoxos Espanoles, I. 720. 


have been inflamed by apocalyptic visions ere he could have em- 
barked in an enterprise in which the means were so wholly inade- 
quate to the end — ere he could have endeavored single-handed to 
overthrow the whole majestic structure of the theocratic church and 
organized feudalism. Dante recognized the greatness of Dolcino 
when he represents him as the only living man to whom Mahomet 
from the depths of hell deigns to send a message, as to a kindred 
spirit. The good Spiritual Franciscans, who endured endless per- 
secution without resistance, could only explain his career by a 
revelation made to a servant of God beyond the seas, that he was 
possessed by a malignant angel named Furcio.* 

The paternity of Dolcino is variously attributed to Giulio, a 
priest of Trontano in the Yal d'Ossola, and to Giulio, a hermit of 
Prato in the Yalsesia, near Novara. Brought as a child to Ver- 
celli, he was bred in the church of St. Agnes by a priest named 
Agosto, who had him carefully trained. Gifted with a brilliant 
intellect, he soon became an excellent scholar, and, though small 
of stature, he was pleasant to look upon and won the affection of 
all. In after-times it was said that his eloquence and persuasive- 
ness were such that no one who once listened to him could ever 
throw off the spell. His connection with Yercelli came to a sud- 
den end. The priest lost a sum of money and suspected his ser- 
vant Patras. The man took the boy and by torturing him forced 
him to confess the theft — rightly or wrongly. The priest inter- 
fered to prevent the matter from becoming public, but shame and 
terror caused Dolcino to depart in secret, and we lose sight of him 
until we hear of him in Trent, at the head of a band of Apostles. 
He had joined the sect in 1291 ; he must early have taken a promi- 
nent position in it, for he admitted in his final confession that he 
had thrice been in the hands of the Inquisition, and had thrice ab- 
jured. This he could do without forfeiting his position, for it was 
one of the principles of the sect, which greatly angered the in- 
quisitors, that deceit was lawful when before the Inquisition ; that 

* Hist. Tribulat. (ubi sup.). 

Or di a Frit Dolcin dunque che s' armi, 
Tu che forse vedrai il sole in breve, 
S' egli non vuol qui tosto seguitarmi ; 
Si di vivanda, che stretta di neve 
Non rechi la vittoria al Noarese, 
Ch' altrimenti acquistar non saria lieve. — Inferno, xxviii. 


oaths could then be taken with the lips and not with the heart ; 
but that if death could not be escaped, then it was to be endured 
cheerfully and patiently, without betraying accomplices." 

For three years after his epistle of August, 1300, we know noth- 
ing of Dolcino's movements, except that he is heard of in Milan, 
Brescia, Bergamo, and Como, but they were busy years of prop- 
agandist! and organization. The time of promised liberation 
came and passed, and the Church was neither shattered nor 
amended. Yet the capture of Boniface VIII. at Anagni, in Sep- 
tember, 1303, followed by his death, might well seem to be the be- 
ginning of the end, and the fulfilment of the prophecy. In Decem- 
ber, 1303, therefore, Dolcino issued a second epistle, in which he an- 
nounced as a revelation from God that the first year of the tribu- 
lations of the Church had begun in the fall of Boniface. In 1304 
Frederic of Trinacria would become emperor, and would destroy 
the cardinals, with the new evil pope whom they had just elected ; 
in 1305 he would carry desolation through the ranks of all prel- 
ates and ecclesiastics, whose wickedness was daily increasing. 
Until that time the faithful must lie hid to escape persecution, but 
then they would come forth, they would be joined by the Spirituals 
of the other orders, they would receive the grace of the Holy Ghost, 
and would form the new Church which would endure to the end. 
Meanwhile he announced himself as the ruler of the Apostolic 
Congregation, consisting of four thousand souls, living without 
external obedience, but in the obedience of the Spirit. About a 
hundred, of either sex, were organized in control of the brethren, 
and he had four principal lieutenants, Longino Cattaneo da Ber- 
gamo, Federigo da Xovara, Alberto da Otranto, and Yalderigo da 
Brescia. Superior to these was his dearly-loved sister in Christ, 
Margherita. Margherita di Trank is described to us as a woman 
of noble birth, considerable fortune, and surpassing beauty, who had 
been educated in the convent of St. Catharine at Trent. Dolcino 
had been the agent of the convent, and had thus made her ac- 
quaintance. Infatuated with him, she fled with him, and remained 
constant to the last. He always maintained that their relations 

* Benvenuto dalmola (Muratori Antiq. III. 457-9). — BescapS, La Novara Sacra, 
Novara, 1878, p. 157. — Baggiolini, Dolcino e i Patarini, Xovara, 1838, pp. 35-6. — 
Hist. Dulcin. Haeresiarch. (Muratori. S. R. I. IX. 436-7).— Addit. ad Hist. (Ibid. 
457, 460). 


were purely spiritual, but this was naturally doubted, and the 
churchmen asserted that she bore him a child whose birth was 
represented to the faithful as the operation of the Holy Ghost.* 

Although in this letter of December, 1303, Dolcino recognizes 
the necessity of concealment, perhaps the expected approaching fru- 
ition of his hopes may have encouraged him to relax his precautions. 
Returning in 1304 to the home of his youth with a few sectaries 
clad in the white tunics and sandals of the Order, he commenced 
making converts in the neighborhood of Gattinara and Serravalle, 
two villages of the Valsesia, a few leagues above Vercelli. The In- 
quisition was soon upon the track, and, failing to catch him, made 
the people of Serravalle pay dearly for the favor which they had 
shown him. Deep-seated discontent, both with the Church and 
their feudal lords, can alone explain the assistance which Dolcino 
received from the hardy population of the foot-hills of the Alps, 
when he was forced to raise openly the standard of revolt. A 
short distance above Serravalle, on the left bank of the Sesia, a 
stream fed by the glaciers of Monte Rosa, lay Borgo di Sesia, in 
the diocese of Novara. Thither a rich husbandman, much esteemed 
by his neighbors, named Milano Sola, invited Dolcino, and for sev- 
eral months he remained there undisturbed, making converts and 
receiving his disciples, whom he seems to have summoned from dis- 
tant parts, as though resolved to make a stand and take advantage 
of the development of his apocalyptic prophecies. Preparations 
made to dislodge him, however, convinced him that safety was 
only to be found in the Alps, and under the guidance of Milano 
Sola the Apostles moved up towards the head- waters of the Sesia, 
and established themselves on a mountain crest, difficult of access, 
where they built huts. Thus passed the year 1304. Their num- 
bers were not inconsiderable— some fourteen hundred of both sexes 
—inflamed with religious zeal, regarding Dolcino as a prophet whose 
lightest word was law. Thus contumaciously assembled in defiance 
of the summons of the Inquisition, they were in open rebellion 

* Corio, Hist. Milanesi, arm. 1307.— Benv. da Imola, loc. cit.— Additamentum 
(Muratori IX. 454-55, 459).— Baggiolini, pp. 36-7. 

Dolcino's two epistles were formally condemned by the Bishop of Parma and 
Fra Manfredo, the inquisitor, and must therefore have been circulated outside of 
the sect (Eymeric. Direct. Inq. P. n. Q. 29). 
III.— 8 


against the Church. The State also soon became their enemy, for as 
the year 1305 opened, their slender stock of provisions was exhausted 
and they replenished their stores by raids upon the lower valleys.* 
The Church could not afford to brook this open defiance, to 
say nothing of the complaints of rapine and sacrilege which filled 
the land, yet it shows the dread which Dolcino already inspired 
that recourse was had to the pope, under whose auspices a formal 
crusade was preached, in order to raise a force deemed sufficient 
to exterminate the heretics. One of the early acts of Clement Y. 
after his election, June 5, 1305, was to issue bulls for this purpose, 
and the next step was to hold an assembly, August 24, where a 
league was formed and an agreement signed pledging the assem- 
bled nobles to shed the last drop of their blood to destroy the Gaz- 
zari, who had been driven out of Sesia and Biandrate, but had not 
ceased to trouble the land. Armed with the papal commissions, 
Rainerio, Bishop of Yercelli, and the inquisitors raised a consider- 
able force and advanced to the mountain refuge of the Apostles. 
Dolcino, seeing the futility of resistance, decamped by night and es- 
tablished his little community on an almost inaccessible mountain, 
and the crusaders, apparently thinking them dispersed, withdrew. 
Dolcino was now fairly at bay ; the only hope of safety lay in re- 
sistance, and since the Church was resolved on war, he and his fol- 
lowers would at least sell their lives as dearly as they could. His 
new retreat was on the Parete Calvo — the Bare Wall — whose 
name sufficiently describes its character, a mountain overlooking 
the village of Campertogno. On this stronghold the Apostles 
fortified themselves and constructed such habitations as they could, 
and from it they ravaged the neighboring valleys for subsistence. 
The Podesta of Yarallo assembled the men of the Yalsesia to dis- 
lodge them, but Dolcino laid an ambush for him, attacked him with 
stones and such other weapons as the Apostles chanced to have, 
and took him prisoner with most of his men, obtaining ransoms 
which enabled the sectaries to support life for a while longer. 
Their depredations continued till all the land within striking dis- 
tance was reduced to a desert, the churches despoiled, and the in- 
habitants driven off.f 

* Hist. Dulcin. (Muratori IX. 428-9).— Bescape, loc. cit. 
f Hist. Dulcin. (Muratori IX. 430-1).— Bescape. loc. cit. 


The winter of 1305-6 put to the test the endurance of the her- 
etics on their bare mountain-top. As Lent came on they were re- 
duced to eating mice and other vermin, and hay cooked in grease. 
The position became untenable, and on the night of March 10, 
compelled by stern necessity to abandon their weaker companions, 
they left the Parete Calvo, and, building paths which seemed im- 
possible over high mountains and through deep snows, they estab- 
lished themselves on Monte Rubello, overlooking the village of 
Triverio, in the diocese of Yercelli. By this time, through want 
and exhaustion, their numbers were reduced to about a thousand, 
and the sole provisions which they brought with them were a few 
scraps of meat. With such secrecy and expedition had the move 
been executed that the first intimation that the people of Triverio 
had of the neighborhood of the dreaded heretics was a foray by 
night, in which their town was ravaged. We do not hear that 
any of the unresisting inhabitants were slain, but we are told that 
thirty-four of the Apostles were cut off in their retreat and put to 
death. The whole region was now alarmed, and the Bishop of 
Yercelli raised a second force of crusaders, who bravely advanced 
to Monte Rubello. Dolcino was rapidly learning the art of war ; 
he made a sally from his stronghold, though again we learn that 
some of his combatants were armed only with stones, and the 
bishop's troops were beaten back with the loss of many prisoners 
who were exchanged for food.* 

The heretic encampment was now organized for permanent oc- 
cupation. Fortifications were thrown up, houses built, and a well 
dug. Thus rendered inexpugnable, the hunted Apostles were in 
safety from external attack, and on their Alpine crag, with all 
mankind for enemies, they calmly awaited in their isolation the 
fulfilment of Dolcino's prophecies. Their immediate danger was 
starvation. The mountain-tops furnished no food, and the remains 
of the episcopal army stationed at Mosso maintained a strict 
blockade. To relieve himself, early in May, Dolcino by a clever 
stratagem lured them to an attack, set upon them from an am- 
bush, and dispersed them, capturing many prisoners, who, as be- 
fore, were exchanged for provisions. The bishop's resources were* 
exhausted. Again he appealed to Clement V., who graciously 

Hist. Dulcin. (Muratori IX. 430-2). 


anathematized the heretics, and offered plenary indulgence to all 
who would serve in the army of the Lord for thirty days against 
them, or pay a recruit for such service. The papal letters were 
published far and wide, the Yercellese ardently supported their 
aged bishop, who personally accompanied the crusade; a large 
force was raised, neighboring heights were seized and machines 
erected which threw stones into the heretic encampment and de- 
molished their huts. A desperate struggle took place for the pos- 
session of one commanding eminence, where mutual slaughter so 
deeply tinged the waters of the Riccio that its name became 
changed to that of Rio Carnaschio, and so strong was the impres- 
sion made upon the popular mind that within the last century it 
would have fared ill with any sceptical traveller who should aver 
within hearing of a mountaineer of the district that its color was 
the same as that of the neighboring torrents." 

This third crusade was as fruitless as its predecessors. The 
assailants were repulsed and fell back to Mosso, Triverio, and 
Crevacore, while Dolcino, profiting by experience, fortified and 
garrisoned six of the neighboring heights, from which he harried 
the surrounding country and kept his people supplied with food. 
To restrain them the crusaders built two forts and maintained a 
heavy force within them, but to little purpose. Mosso, Triverio, 
Cassato, Flecchia, and other towns were burned, and the accounts of 
the wanton spoliation and desecration of the churches show how 
thoroughlv antisacerdotal the sect had become. Driven to des- 
peration, the ancient loving-kindness of their creed gave place to 
the cruelty which they learned from their assailants. To deprive 
them of resources it was forbidden to exchange food with them 
for prisoners, and their captives were mercilessly put to death. 
According to the contemporary inquisitor to whom we are in- 
debted for these details, since the days of Adam there had never 
been a sect so execrable, so abominable, so horrible, or which in a 
time so short accomplished so much evil. The worst of it was 
that Dolcino infused into his followers his own unconquerable 
spirit. In male attire the women accompanied the men in their 
expeditions. Fanaticism rendered them invincible, and so great 
was the terror which they inspired that the faithful fled from the 

Hist. Dulcin (Muratori IX. 432-4.)— Baggiolini, p. 131. 


faces of these dogs, of whom we are told a few would put to flight 
a host and utterly destroy them. The land was abandoned by the 
inhabitants, and in December, seized with a sudden panic, the 
crusaders evacuated one of the forts, and the garrison of the other, 
amounting to seven hundred men, was rescued with difficulty.* 

Dolcino's fanaticism and military skill had thus triumphed in 
the field, but the fatal weakness of his position lay in his inability 
to support his followers. This was clearly apprehended by the 
Bishop of Vercelli, who built five new forts around the heretic 
position ; and when we are told that all the roads and passes were 
strictly guarded so that no help should reach them, we may infer 
that, in spite of the devastation to which they had been driven, 
they still had friends among the population. This policy was 
successful. During the winter of 1306-7 the sufferings of the 
Apostles on their snowy mountain-top were frightful. Hunger 
and cold did their work. Many perished from exhaustion. Others 
barely maintained life on grass and leaves, when they were fortu- 
nate enough to find them. Cannibalism was resorted to ; the bodies 
of their enemies who fell in successful sorties were devoured, and 
even those of their comrades who succumbed to starvation. The 
pious chronicler informs us that this misery was brought upon 
them by the prayers and vows of the good bishop and his flock.f 

To this there could be but one ending, and even the fervid 
genius of Dolcino could not indefinitely postpone the inevitable. 
As the dreary Alpine winter drew to an end, towards the close of 
March, the bishop organized a fourth crusade. A large army was 
raised to deal with the gaunt and haggard survivors ; hot fighting 
occurred during Passion Week, and on Holy Thursday (March 
23, 1307) the last entrenchments were carried. The resistance 
had been stubborn, and again the Rio Carnaschio ran red with 
blood. No quarter was given. " On that day more than a thou- 
sand of the heretics perished in the flames, or in the river, or by 
the sword, in the cruellest of deaths. Thus they who made sport 
of God the Eternal Father and of the Catholic faith came, on the 
day of the Last Supper, through hunger, steel, fire, pestilence, and 
all wretchedness, to shame and disgraceful death, as they deserved." 

* Hist. Dulcin. (Muratori IX. 434,437-8). 
t Hist. Dulcin. (lb. 439-40). 


Strict orders had been given by the bishop to capture alive Dol- 
cino and his two chief subordinates, Margherita and Longino Cat- 
taneo, and great were the rejoicings when they were brought to 
him on Saturday, at the castle of Biella.* 

Xo case could be clearer than theirs, and yet the bishop deemed 
it necessary to consult Pope Clement — a perfectly superfluous 
ceremony, explicable perhaps, as Gallenga suggests, by the oppor- 
tunity which it afforded of begging assistance for his ruined dio- 
cese and exhausted treasury. Clement's avarice responded in a 
niggardly fashion, though the extravagant paean of triumph in 
which the pope hastened to announce the glad tidings to Philippe le 
Bel on the same evening in which he received them shows how 
deep was the anxiety caused by the audacious revolt of the handful 
of Dolcinists. The Bishops of Yercelli, 2s ovara, and Pavia, and the 
Abbot of Lucedio were granted the first fruits of all benefices be- 
coming vacant during the next three years in their respective ter- 
ritories, and the former, in addition, was exempted during life from 
the exactions of papal legates, with some other privileges. While 
awaiting this response the prisoners were kept, chained hand and 
foot and neck, in the dungeon of the Inquisition at Vercelli, with 
numerous guards posted to prevent a rescue, indicating a knowl- 
edge that there existed deep popular sympathy for the rebels 
against State and Church. The customary efforts were made to 
procure confession and abjuration, but while the prisoners boldly 
affirmed their faith they were deaf to all offers of reconciliation. 
Dolcino even persisted in his prophecies that Antichrist would 
appear in three years and a half, when he and his followers would 
be translated to Paradise ; that after the death of Antichrist he 
would return to the earth to be the holy pope of the new church, 
when all the infidels would be converted. About two months 
passed away before Clement's orders were received, that they 
should be tried and punished at the scene of their crimes. The 
customary assembly of experts was convened in Yercelli ; there 
could be no doubt as to their guilt, and they were abandoned to 

* Hist. Dulcin. (Muratori IX. 439). 

Ptolemy of Lucca, who is good contemporaneous authority, puts the number 
of those captured with Dolcino at one hundred and fifty, and of those who 
perished through exposure and by the sword at only about three hundred 
—Hist. Eccles. Lib. xxiv. (Muratori XI. 1227). 


the secular arm. For the superfluous cruelty which followed the 
Church was not responsible ; it was the expression of the terror 
of the secular authorities, leading them to repress by an awful 
example the ever-present danger of a peasant revolt. On June 
1, 1307, the prisoners were brought forth. Margherita's beauty 
moved all hearts to compassion, and this, coupled with the reports 
of her wealth, led many nobles to offer her marriage and pardon 
if she would abjure, but, constant to her faith and to Dolcino, she 
preferred the stake. She was slowly burned to death before his 
eyes, and then commenced his more prolonged torture. Mounted 
on a cart, provided with braziers to keep the instruments of tor- 
ment heated, he was slowly driven along the roads through that 
long summer day and torn gradually to pieces with red-hot pincers. 
The marvellous constancy of the man was shown by his enduring 
it without rewarding his torturers with a single change of feature. 
Only when his nose was wrenched off was observed a slight shiver 
in the shoulders, and when a yet crueller pang was inflicted, a 
single sigh escaped him. While he was thus dying in linger- 
ing torture Longino Cattaneo, at Biella, was similarly utilized to 
afford a salutary warning to the people. Thus the enthusiasts 
expiated their dreams of the regeneration of mankind.* 

Complete as was Dolcino's failure, his character and his fate 
left an ineffaceable impression on the population. The Parete 
Calvo, his first mountain refuge, was considered to be haunted by 
evil spirits, whom he had left to guard a treasure buried in* a 
cave, and who excited such tempests when any one invaded their 
domain that the people of Triverio were forced to maintain guards 
to warn off persistent treasure -seekers. Still stronger was the 

* Mariotti (A. Galenga), Fra Dolcino and his Times, London, 1853, pp. 287- 
88— Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. II. pp. 79-82, 88 (Ed. Benedictina, Romae,1886). 
— Mosheims Ketzergeschichte I, 395.— Ughelli, Italia Sacra, Ed. 1652, IV. 1104- 
8.— Hist. Dulcin. (Muratori IX. 436, 440).— Benv. da Imola (Muratori Antiq. III. 
460).— Bernard. Guidon. Vit. Clement. PP. V. (Muratori III. I. 674).— Bescape, 
loc. cit. 

The punishment inflicted on Dolcino and Longino was not exceptional. By 
a Milanese statute of 1393 all secret attempts upon the life of any member of a 
family with whom the criminal lived were subject to a penalty precisely the 
same in all details, except that it ended by attaching the offender to a wheel 
and leaving him to perish in prolonged agony. — Antiqua Ducum Mediolani 
Decreta, p. 187 (Mediolani, 1654). 


influence which he exerted upon his fastness on Monte Rubello. 
It became known as the Monte dei Gazzari, and to it, as to an 
accursed spot, priests grew into the habit of consigning demons 
whom they exorcised on account of hail-storms. The result of 
this was that the congregated spirits caused such fearful tempests 
that the neighboring lands were ruined, the harvests were yearly 
destroyed, and the people reduced to beggary. Finally, as a cure, 
the inhabitants of Triverio vowed to God and to St. Bernard that 
if they were relieved they would build on the top of the mountain 
a chapel to St. Bernard. This was done, and the mountain thus 
acquired its modern name of Monte San Bernardo. Every year on 
June 15, the feast of St. Bernard, one man from every hearth in 
the surrounding parishes marched with their priests in solemn 
procession, bearing crosses and banners, and celebrating solemn 
services, in the presence of crowds assembled to gain the pardons 
granted by the pope, and to share in a distribution of bread pro- 
vided by a special levy made on the parishes of Triverio and 
Portola, This custom lasted till the French invasion under Xa- 
poleon. Renewed in 1S15, it was discontinued on account of the 
disorders which attended it. Again resumed in 1S39, it was ac- 
companied with a hurricane which is still in the Yalsesia attributed 
to the heresiarch, and even to the present day the mountaineers 
see on the mountain-crest a procession of Dolcinists during the 
night before its celebration. Dolcino's name is still remembered 
in the valleys as that of a great man who perished in the effort to 
free the populations from temporal and spiritual tyranny.- 

Dolcino and his immediate band of followers were thus ex- 
terminated, but there remained the thousands of Apostles, scattered 
throughout the land, who cherished their belief in secret. Under 
the skilful hand of the Inquisition, the harmless eccentricities of 
Segarelli were hardened and converted into a strongly antisacer- 
dotal heresy, antagonistic to Eome, precisely as we have seen the 
same result with the exaggerated asceticism of the Olivists. There 
was much in common between the sects, for both drew their 
inspiration from the Everlasting Gospel. Like the Olivists, the 
Apostles held that Christ had withdrawn his authority from the 

* A. Artiaco (Rivista Cristiana, 1877, 145-51).— Hist. Dulcin. (Muratori IX. 
441-2).— Baggiolini, pp. 165-71. 


Church of Rome on account of its wickedness ; it was the Whore 
of Babylon, and all spiritual power was transferred to the Spiritual 
Congregation, or Order of Apostles, as they styled themselves. 
As time passed on without the fulfilment of the apocalyptic 
promises, as Frederic of Trinacria did not develop into a deliverer, 
and as Antichrist delayed his appearance, they seem to have aban- 
doned these hopes, or at least to have repressed their expression, 
but they continued to cherish the belief that they had attained 
spiritual perfection, releasing them from all obedience to man, and 
that there was no salvation outside of their community. Anti- 
sacerdotalism was thus developed to the fullest extent. There 
seems to have been no organization in the Order. Reception was 
performed by the simplest of ceremonies, either in church before 
the altar or in any other place. The postulant stripped himself 
of all his garments, in sign of renunciation of all property and of 
entering into the perfect state of evangelical poverty ; he uttered 
no vows, but in his heart he promised to live henceforth in poverty. 
After this he was never to receive or carry money, but was to live 
on alms spontaneously offered to him, and was never to reserve 
anything for the morrow. He made no promise of obedience to 
mortal man, but only to God, to whom alone he was subject, as 
were the apostles to Christ. Thus all the externals of religion 
were brushed aside. Churches were useless ; a man could better 
worship Christ in the woods, and prayer to God was as effective 
in a pigsty as in a consecrated building. Priests and prelates and 
monks were a detriment to the faith. Tithes should only be given 
to those whose voluntary poverty rendered it superfluous. Though 
the sacrament of penitence was not expressly abrogated, yet the 
power of the keys was virtually annulled by the principle that no 
pope could absolve for sin unless he were as holy as St. Peter, 
living in perfect poverty and humility, abstaining from war and 
persecution, and permitting every one to dwell in liberty ; and, as 
all prelates, from the time of Silvester, had been seducers and 
prevaricators, excepting only Fra Pier di Morrone (Celestin V.), 
it followed that the indulgences and pardons so freely hawked 
around Christendom were worthless. One error they shared with 
the Waldenses — the prohibition of oaths, even in a court of justice.* 

Addit. ad Hist. Dulcin. (Muratori IX. 4oo-7).— Bern. Guidon. Pract. P. v. 


The description which Bernard Gui gives of the Apostles, in 
order to guide his brother inquisitors in their detection, shows how 
fully they carried into practice the precepts of their simple creed. 
They wore a special habit, closely approaching a conventual garb 
— probably the white mantle and cord adopted by Segarelli. 
They presented all the exterior signs of saintliness. As they 
wandered along the roads and through the streets they sang 
hymns, or uttered prayers and exhortations to repentance. What- 
ever was spontaneously set before them they ate with thankful- 
ness, and when appetite was satisfied they left what might remain 
and carried nothing with them. In their humble fashion they 
seem to have imitated the apostles as best they could, and to have 
carried poverty to a pitch which Angelo da Clarino himself might 
have envied. Bernard Gui, in addition, deplores their intractable 
obstinacy, and adduces a case in which he had kept one of them 
in prison for two years, subjecting him to frequent examination, 
before he was brought to confession and repentance — by what 
gentle persuasives we may readily guess." 

All this may seem to us the most harmless of heresies, and yet 
the impression produced by the exploits of Dolcino caused it to 
be regarded as one of the most formidable ; and the earnestness 
of the sectaries in making converts was rendered dangerous by 
their drawing their chief arguments from the evil lives of the 
clergy. When the Brethren of the Free Spirit were condemned 
in the Clementines, Bernard Gui wrote earnestly to John XXII., 
urging that a clause should be inserted including the Apostles, 
whom he described as growing like weeds and spreading from 
Italy to Languedoc and Spain. This is probably one of the exag- 
gerations customary in such matters, but about this time a Dol- 
cinist named Jacopo da Querio was discovered and burned in Avi- 
gnon. In 1316 Bernard Gui found others within his own district, 
when his energetic proceedings soon drove the poor wretches across 
the Pyrenees, and he addressed urgent letters to all the prelates 
of Spain, describing them and calling for their prompt extermina- 
tion, which resulted, as mentioned in a former chapter, in the ap- 
prehension of five of the heretics at far-off Compostella, doubtless 
the remnants of the disciples of the Apostle Richard. Possibly 

* Bernard. Guidon. Pmctica P. v. 


this may have driven some of them back to France for safety, for 
in the auto of September, 1322, at Toulouse, there figures the Gali- 
cian already referred to named Pedro de Lugo, who had been 
strenuously labored with for a year in prison, and on his abjura- 
tion was incarcerated for life on bread and water. In the same 
auto there was another culprit whose fate illustrates the horror 
and terror inspired by the doctrines of the Dolcinists. Guillem 
Ruffi had been previously forced to abjuration as a Beguine, and 
subsequently had betrayed two of his former associates, one of 
whom had been burned and the other imprisoned. This would 
seem to be sufficient proof of his zeal for orthodoxy, and yet, 
when he happened to state that in Italy there were Fraticelli 
who held that no one was perfect who could not endure the 
test of continence above alluded to, adding that he had tried 
the experiment himself with success, and had taught it to more 
than one woman, this was considered sufficient, and without any- 
thing further against him he was incontinently burned as a re- 
lapsed heretic* 

In spite of Bernard Gui's exaggerated apprehensions, the sect, 
although it continued to exist for some time, gave no further seri- 
ous trouble. The Council of Cologne in 1306 and that of Treves 
in 1310 allude to the Apostles, showing that they were not un- 
known in Germany. Yet about 1335 so well-informed a writer as 
Alvar Pelayo speaks of Dolcino as a Beghard, showing how soon 
the memory of the distinctive characteristics of the sect had faded 
away. At this very time, however, a certain Zoppio was secretly 
spreading the heresy at Kieti, where it seems to have found nu- 
merous converts, especially among the women. Attention being 
called to it, Fra Simone Filippi, inquisitor of the Koman province, 
hastened thither, seized Zoppio, and after examining him delivered 
him to the authorities for safe-keeping. When he desired to pro- 
ceed with the trial the magistrates refused to surrender the pris- 
oner, and abused the inquisitor. Benedict XII. was appealed to, 
who scolded roundly the recalcitrant officials for defending a her- 
esy so horrible that decency forbids his describing it ; he threat- 

* Addit. ad Hist. Dulcin. (Muratori IX. 458).— Bernard. Guidon. Practica P. v. 
—Bernard. Guidon. Gravam. (Doat, XXX. 120-4).— Raym. de Fronciacho (Archiv 
fur Litt.- u. K. 1887, p. 10,— Lib. Sententt. Tnq. Tolos. pp. 360-3, 381. 


ened them with exemplary punishment for continued contumacy, 
and promised that, if they were afraid of damage to the repu- 
tation of their women, the latter should be mildly treated and 
spared humiliating penance on giving information as to their as- 

After a long interval we hear of the Apostles again in Langue- 
doc, where, in 1368, the Council of Lavaur calls attention to them 
as wandering through the land in spite of the condemnation of the 
Holy See, and disseminating errors under an appearance of exter- 
nal piety, wherefore they are ordered to be arrested and punished 
by the episcopal courts. In 1374 the Council of Xarbonne deemed 
it necessary to repeat this injunction ; and we have seen that in 
1402 and 1403 the zeal of the Inquisitor Eylard was rewarded in 
Lubec and Wismar by the capture and burning of two Apostles. 
This is the last authentic record of a sect which a hundred years 
before had for a brief space inspired so wide a terror. f 

Closely allied with the Dolcinists, and forming a link between 
them and the German Brethren of the Free Spirit, were some 
Italian heretics known as followers of the Spirit of Liberty, of. 
whom a few scattered notices have reached us. They seem to 
have avoided the pantheism of the Germans, and did not teach 
the return of the soul to its Creator, but they adopted the danger- 
ous tenet of the perfectibility of man, who in this life can become 
as holy as Christ. This can be accomplished by sins as well as 
by virtues, for both are the same in the eye of God, who directs 
all things and allows no human free-will. The soul is purified by 
sin, and the greater the pleasure in carnal indulgences the more 
nearly they represent God. There is no eternal punishment, but 

* Concil. Coloniens. aim. 1306 c. 1, 2 (Hartzheirn IY. 100, 102).— Concil. Tre- 
virens. aim. 1310 c. 50 (Martene Thesanr. IV 250). — Alvar. Pelag. de Planctu Ec- 
cles. Lib. n. art. lii. (fol. 166, 172, Ed. 1517).— Wadding, aim. 1335, No. 8-9.— Ray 
nald.ann. 1335, No. 62. 

t Concil. Vaurens. aim. 1368 c. 24 ; Concil. Narbonn. aim. 1374 c. 5 (Harduin. 
VII. 1818, 1880).— Herman. Corneri Chron. ann. 1260, 1402 (Eccard. Corp. Hist. 
Med. ^Evi 11.906,1185). 

I have already referred (Vol. II. p. 429) to the persecution at Prague, in 1315, of 
some heretics whom Dubravius qualifies as Dolcinists, but who probably were 
Waldenses and Luciferans. 


souls not sufficiently purified in this life undergo purgation until 
admitted to heaven.* 

We first hear of these sectaries as appaaring among the Fran- 
ciscans of Assisi, where, under active proceedings, seven of the 
friars confessed, abjured, and were sentenced to perpetual prison. 
When, in 1309, Clement V. sought to settle the points in dispute 
between the Spirituals and Conventuals, the first of the four pre- 
liminary questions which he put to the contending factions related 
to the connection between the Order and this heresy, of which 
both sides promptly sought to clear themselves. The next refer- 
ence to them is in April, 1311, Avhen they were said to be multi- 
plying rapidly in Spoleto, among both ecclesiastics and laymen, 
and Clement sent thither Raimundo, Bishop of Cremona, to stamp 
out the new heresy. The effort was unavailing, for in 1327, at 
Florence, Donna Lapina, belonging to the sect " of the Spirit " 
whose members believed themselves impeccable, was condemned 
by Fra Accursio, the inquisitor, to confiscation and wearing crosses ; 
and in 1329 Fra Bartolino da Perugia, in announcing a general in- 
quisition to be made of the province of Assisi, enumerates the new 
heresy of the Spirit of Liberty among those which he proposes to 
suppress. More important was the case of Domenico Savi of As- 
coli, who was regarded as a man of the most exemplary piety. In 
1337 he abandoned wife and children for a hermit's life, and the 
bishop built for him a cell and oratory. This gave him still greater 
repute, and his influence was such that when he began to dissemi- 
nate the doctrines of the Spirit of Liberty, which he undertook by 
means of circulating written tracts, the number of his followers is 
reckoned at ten thousand. It was not long before this attracted 
the attention of the Inquisition. He was tried, and recanted, while 
his writings were ordered to be burned. His convictions, how- 
ever, were too strong to allow him to remain orthodox. He re- 
lapsed, was tried a second time, appealed to the pope, and was 
finally condemned by the Holy See in 1344, when he was handed 
over to the secular arm and burned at Ascoli. As nothing is said 

* MS. Bibl. Casanatense A. iv. 49.— I owe the communication of this docu- 
ment to the kindness of M. Charles Molinier. See also Amati, Archivio Storico 
Italiano, No. 38, p. 14. 

For the connection between these heretics and the Dolcinists, compare Ar- 
chiv fiir Lit.- u. Kirchengeschichte, 1886, p. 131, with 1887, pp. 123-4. 


about the fate of his disciples it may be assumed that they escaped 
by abjuration. He is usually classed with the Fraticelli, but the 
errors attributed to him bear no resemblance to those of that sect, 
and are evidently exaggerations of the doctrines of the Spirit of 

Before dismissing the career of Dolcino, it may be worth while 
to cast a passing glance at that of a modern prophet which, like 
the cases of the modern Guglielmites, teaches us that such spiritual 
phenomena are common to all ages, and that even in our colder 
and more rationalistic time the mysteries of human nature are the 
same as in the thirteenth century. 

Dolcino merely organized a movement which had been in prog- 
ress for nearly half a century, and which was the expression of 
a widely diffused sentiment. David Lazzaretti of Arcidosso was 
both founder and martyr. A wagoner in the mountains of south- 
ern Tuscany, his herculean strength and ready speech made him 
widely known throughout his native region, when a somewhat 
wild and dissipated youth was suddenly converted into an ascetic 
of the severest type, dwelling in a hermitage on Monte Labbro, and 
honored with revelations from God. His austerities, his visions, 
and his prophecies soon brought him disciples, many of whom 
adopted his mode of life, and the peasants of Arcidosso revered 
him as a prophet. He claimed that, as early as 1848, he had been 
called to the task of regenerating the world, and that his sudden 
conversion was caused by a vision of St. Peter, who imprinted on 
his forehead a mark (0 + C) in attestation of his mission. He 
was by no means consistent in his successive stages of develop- 
ment. A patriot volunteer in 1860, he subsequently upheld the 
cause of the Church against the assaults of heretic Germany, but 
in 1876 his book, " My Struggle with God," reveals his aspirations 
towards the headship of a new faith, and describes him as carried 
to heaven and discoursing with God, though he still professed 
himself faithful to Rome and to the papacy. The Church dis- 
dained his aid and condemned his errors, and he became a heresi- 

* Archiv fur Litt.- u. Kirchengeschichte, 1887, pp. 51, 144-5. — Raynald. aim. 
1311, No. 66-70 : aim. 1318, No. 44.— Archiv. di Firenze, Prov. S. Maria Novella, 
1327, Ott. 31.— Franz Ehrle, Archiv fur Lit.- n. Kirchengeschichte, 1885, p. 160. 
— D'Argentre I. i. 33G-7.— Cantu, Eretici d'ltalia, 1. 133.. 


arch. In the spring of 1878 he urged the adoption of sacerdotal 
marriage, he disregarded fast-days, administered communion to his 
disciples in a rite of his own, and composed for them a creed of 
which the twenty -fourth article was, " I believe that our founder, 
David Lazzaretti, the anointed of the Lord, judged and condemned 
by the Roman curia, is really Christ, the leader and the judge." 
That the people accepted him is seen in the fact that for three 
successive Sundays the priest of Arcidosso found his church with- 
out a worshipper. David founded a " Society of the Holy League, 
or Christian Brotherhood," and proclaimed the coming Republic 
or Kingdom of God, when all property should be equally divided. 
Even this communism did not frighten off the small proprietors 
who constituted the greater portion of his following. There was 
general discontent, owing to a succession of unfortunate harvests 
and the increasing pressure of taxation, and when, on August 14, 
1878, he announced that he would set out with his disciples peace- 
fully to inaugurate his theocratic republic, the whole population 
gathered on Monte Labbro. After four days spent in religious 
exercises the extraordinary crusade set forth, consisting of all ages 
and both sexes, arrayed in a fantastic uniform of red and blue, 
and bearing banners and garlands of flowers with which to revolu- 
tionize society. Its triumphal march was short. At the village 
of Arcidosso its progress was disputed by a squad of nine cara- 
bineers, who poured volleys into the defenceless crowd. Thirty- 
four of the Lazzarettists fell, killed and wounded, and among them 
David himself, with a bullet in his brain.* Whether he was en- 
thusiast or impostor may remain an open question. Travel and 
study had brought him training ; he was no longer a rude moun- 

* Barzellotti, David Lazzaretti di Arcidosso detto il Santo. Bologna, 1885. 

Somewhat similar is the career of an ex-sergeant of the Italian army named 
Gabriele Donnici, who has founded in the Calabrian highlands a sect dignifying 
itself with the title of the Saints. Gabriele is a prophet announcing the advent 
of a new Messiah, who is to come not as a lamb, but as a lion breathing ven- 
geance and armed with bloody scourges. He and his brother Abele were tried 
for the murder of the wife of the latter, Grazia Funaro, who refused to submit to 
the sexual abominations taught in the sect. They were condemned to hard labor 
and imprisonment, but were discharged on appeal to the Superior Court of Co- 
senza. Other misdeeds of the sectaries are at present occupying the attention of 
the Italian tribunals.— Rivista Cristiana, 1887, p. 57. 


tain peasant, but could estimate the social forces against which he 
raised the standard of revolt, and could recognize that they were 
insuperable save to an envoy of God. Possibly on the slopes of 
Monte Amiata his memory may linger like that of Dolcino in the 
Yalsesia ; certain it is that many of his disciples long expected his 



AVe have seen how John XXII. created and exterminated the 
heresy of the Spiritual Franciscans, and how Michele da Cesena 
enforced obedience within the Order as to the question of gran- 
aries and cellars and the wearing of short and narrow gowns. 
The settlement of the question, however, on so illogical a basis as 
this was impossible, especially in view of the restless theological 
dogmatism of the pope and his inflexible determination to crush all 
dissidence of opinion. Having once undertaken to silence the dis- 
cussions over the rule of poverty which had caused so much trouble 
for nearly a century, his logical intellect led him to carry to their 
legitimate conclusions the principles involved in his bulls Quorum- 
dam, Sancta Romana, and Gloriosam Eeclesiam, while his thorough 
worldliness rendered him incapable of anticipating the storm 
which he would provoke. A character such as his was unable to 
comprehend the honest inconsistency of men like Michele and 
Bonagrazia, who could burn their brethren for refusing to have 
granaries and cellars, and who, at the same time, were ready to 
endure the stake in vindication of the absolute poverty of Christ 
and the apostles, which had so long been a fundamental belief of 
the Order, and had been proclaimed as irrefragable truth in the 
bull Exiit qui seminat. 

In fact, under a pope of the temperament of John, the ortho- 
dox Franciscans had a narrow and dangerous path to tread. The 
Spirituals were burned as heretics because they insisted on follow- 
ing their own conception of the Rule of Francis, and the distinc- 
tion between this and the official recognition of the obligation, of 
poverty was shadowy in the extreme. The Dominicans were not 
slow to recognize the dubious position of their rivals, nor averse 
to take advantage of it. If they could bring the received doc- 
trines of the Franciscan Order within the definition of the new 
III.— 9 


heresy they would win a triumph that might prove permanent. 
The situation was so artificial and so untenable that a catastrophe 
was inevitable, and it might be precipitated by the veriest trifle. 

In 1321, when the persecution of the Spirituals was at its 
height, the Dominican inquisitor, Jean de Beaune, whom we have 
seen as the colleague of Bernard Gui and the jailer of Bernard 
Delicieux, was engaged at Xarbonne in the trial of one of the pro- 
scribed sect. To pass judgment he summoned an assembly of ex- 
perts, among whom was the Franciscan Berenger Talon, teacher 
in the convent of Xarbonne. One of the errors which he repre- 
sented the culprit as entertaining was that Christ and the apostles, 
following the way of perfection, had held no possessions, individu- 
ally or in common. As this was the universal Franciscan doctrine, 
we can only regard it as a challenge when he summoned Frere 
Berenger to give his opinion respecting it. Berenger thereupon 
replied that it was not heretical, having been defined as orthodox 
in the decretal Exiit, when the inquisitor hotly demanded that he 
should recant on the spot. The position was critical, and Beren- 
ger, to save himself from prosecution, interjected an appeal to the 
pope. He hastened to Avignon, but found that Jean de Beaune 
had been before him. He was arrested ; the Dominicans every- 
where took up the question, and the pope allowed it to be clearly 
seen that his sympathies were with them. Yet the subject was a 
dangerous one for disputants, as the bull Exiit had anathematized 
all who should attempt to gloss or discuss its decisions ; and, as a 
preliminary to reopening the question, John was obliged, March 
26, 1322, to issue a special bull, Quia nonnunquam, wherein he 
suspended, during his pleasure, the censures pronounced in Exiit 
qui seminat. Having thus intimated that the Church had erred 
in its former definition, he proceeded to lay before his prelates 
and doctors the significant question whether the pertinacious as- 
sertion that Christ and the apostles possessed nothing individually 
or in common was a heresy.* 

The extravagances of the Spirituals had borne their fruit, and 
there was a reaction against the absurd laudation of poverty which 
had grown to be a fetich. This bore hard on those who had been 

* Nicholans Minorita (Baluz. et Mansi III. 207). — Chron. Glassberger ann. 
1321— Wadding, ann. 1321, No. 16-19; ann. 1322, No. 49-50. 


conscientiously trained in the belief that the abnegation of prop- 
erty was the surest path to salvation ; but the follies of the ascetics 
had become uncomfortable, if not dangerous, and it was necessary 
for the Church to go behind its teachings since the days of Antony 
and Hilarion and Simeon Stylites, to recur to the common-sense of 
the gospel, and to admit that, like the Sabbath, religion was made 
for man and not man for religion. In a work written some ten 
years after this time, Alvar Pelayo, papal penitentiary and himself 
a Franciscan, treats the subject at considerable length, and doubt- 
less represents the views which found favor with John. The 
anchorite should be wholly dead to the world and should never 
leave his hermitage ; memorable is the abbot who refused to open 
his door to his mother for fear his eye should rest upon her, and 
not less so the monk who, when his brother asked him to come a 
little way and help him with a foundered ox, replied, " Why dost 
thou not ask thy brother who is yet in the world ?" " But he has 
been dead these fifteen vears !" " And I have been dead to the 
world these twenty years !" Short of this complete renunciation, 
all men should earn their living by honest labor. In spite of the 
illustrious example of the sleepless monks of Dios, the apostolic 
command "Pray without ceasing" (Thessal. v. 17) is not to be 
taken literally. The apostles had money and bought food (John 
iv. 8), and Judas carried the purse of the Lord (John xn. 6). Bet- 
ter than a life of beggary is one blessed by honest labor, as a 
swineherd, a shepherd, a cowherd, a mason, a blacksmith, or a 
charcoal-burner, for a man is thus fulfilling the purpose of his cre- 
ation. It is a sin for the able-bodied to live on charity, and thus 
usurp the alms due to the sick, the infirm, and the aged. All this 
is a lucid interval of common-sense, but what would Aquinas or 
Bonaventura have said to it, for it sounds like the echo of their 
great antagonist. William of Saint- Amour ?* 

* Alvar. Pelag. de Planctu Ecclesiae Lib. i. Art. 51. fol. 165-9. 

In fact, the advocates of poverty did not miss the easy opportunity of stigma- 
tizing their antagonists as followers of William of Saint-Amour. See Tocco, 
u Un Codice della Marciana," Venezia, 1887, pp. 12, 39 (Ateneo Veneto, 1§86- 

The MS. of which Professor Tocco has here printed the most important por- 
tions, with elucidatory notes, is a collection of the responses made to the question 
submitted for discussion by John XXII. as to the poverty of Christ and the 


It was inevitable that the replies to the question submitted by 
John should be adverse to the poverty of Christ and the apostles. 
The bishops were universally assumed to be the representatives of 
the latter, and could not be expected to relish the assertion that 
their prototypes had been commanded by Christ to own no prop- 
erty. The Spirituals had made a point of this. Olivi had proved 
not only that Franciscans promoted to the episcopate were even 
more bound than their brethren to observe the Kule in all its 
strictures, but that bishops in general were under obligation to 
live in deeper poverty than the members of the most perfect Or- 
der. !Now that there was a chance of justifying their worldliness 
and luxury, it was not likely to be lost. Yet John himself for 
a while held his own opinion suspended. In a debate before the 
consistory, Ubertino da Casale, the former leader of the orthodox 
Spirituals, was summoned to present the Franciscan view of the 
poverty of Christ, in answer to the Dominicans, and we are told 
that John was greatly pleased with his argument. Unluckily, at 
the General Chapter held at Perugia, May 30, 1322, the Francis- 
cans appealed to Christendom at large by a definition addressed to 
all the faithful, in which they proved that the absolute poverty of 
Christ was the accepted doctrine of the Church, as set forth in 
the bulls Exi'it and Exivi de Paradiso, and that John himself had 
approved of these in his bull Quorumdam. Another and more 
comprehensive utterance to the same effect received the signatures 
of all the Franciscan masters and bachelors of theology in France 
and England. AVith a disputant such as John this was an act of 

apostles. They are significant of the general reaction against the previously pre- 
vailing dogma, and of the eagerness with which, as soon as the free expression 
of opinion was safe, the prelates repudiated a doctrine condemnatory of the tem- 
poralities so industriously accumulated by all classes of ecclesiastics. There 
were but eight replies affirming the poverty of Christ, and these were all from 
Franciscans — the Cardinals of Albano and San Vitale, the Archbishop of Salerno, 
the Bishops of CafTa, Lisbon. Riga, and Badajoz. and an unknown master of the 
Order. On the other side there were fourteen cardinals, including even Xapoleone 
Orsini, the protector of the Spirituals, and a large number of archbishops, 
bishops, abbots, and doctors of theology. It is doubtless true, however, that the 
fear of offending the pope was a factor in producing this virtual unanimity — a 
fear not unreasonable, as was shown by the disgrace and persecution of those who 
maintained the poverty of Christ. — (Tocco, ubi sup. p. 35). 


more zeal than discretion. His passions were fairly aroused, and 
he proceeded to treat the Franciscans as antagonists. In Decem- 
ber of the same year he dealt them a heavy blow in the bull Ad 
conditorem, wherein with remorseless logic he pointed out the fal 
lacy of the device of Innocent IV. for eluding the provisions of 
the Rule by vesting the ownership of property in the Holy See and 
its use in the Friars. It had not made them less eager in acquisi- 
tiveness, while it had led them to a senseless pride in their own as- 
serted superiority of poverty. He showed that use and consump- 
tion as conceded to them were tantamount to ownership, and that 
pretended ownership subject to such usufruct was illusory, while 
it was absurd to speak of Rome as owning an egg or a piece of 
cheese given to a friar to be consumed on the spot. Moreover, it 
was humiliating to the Roman Church to appear as plaintiff or de- 
fendant in the countless litigations in which the Order was in- 
volved, and the procurators who thus appeared in its name were 
said to abuse their position to the injury of many who were de- 
frauded of their rights. For these reasons he annulled the pro- 
visions of Nicholas III., and declared that henceforth no owner- 
ship in the possessions of the Order should inhere in the Roman 
Church and no procurator act in its name.* 

The blow was shrewdly dealt, for though the question of the 
poverty of Christ was not alluded to, the Order was deprived of 
its subterfuge, and was forced to admit practically that ownership 
of property was a necessary condition of its existence. Its mem- 
bers, however, had too long nursed the delusion to recognize its 
fallacy now, and in January, 1323, Bonagrazia, as procurator spe- 
cially commissioned for the purpose, presented to the pope in full 
consistory a written protest against his action. If Bonagrazia 
had not arguments to adduce he had at least ample precedents to 
cite in the long line of popes since Gregory IX., including John 
himself. He wound up by audaciously appealing to the pope, to 

* Franz Ehrle, Archiv fur Litt.- u. K. 1887, pp. 511-12.— Baluz et Mansi II. 
279-80.— Nicholaus Minorita (Ibid. III. 208-13). 

Curiously enough, in this John did exactly what his special antagonists, the 
Spi rituals, had desired. Olivi had long before pointed out the scandal of an 
Order vowed to poverty litigating eagerly for property and using the transpa- 
rent cover of papal procurators (Hist. Tribulat. ap. Archiv fur Litt.- u. K. 1886, 
p. 298). 


Holy Mother Church, and to the apostles, and though he concluded 
by submitting himself to the decisions of the Church, he could not 
escape the wrath which he had provoked. It was not many years 
since Clement V. had confined him for resisting too bitterly the 
extravagance of the Spirituals : he still consistently occupied the 
same position, and now John cast him into a 2ou\ and dismal dun- 
geon because he had not moved with the world, while the only 
answer to his protest was taking down from the church doors the 
bull Ad conditorem and replacing it with a revised edition, more 
decided and argumentative than its predecessor.* 

All this did not conduce to a favorable decision of the question 
as to the poverty of Christ. John was now fairly enlisted against 
the Franciscans, and their enemies lost no opportunity of inflaming 
his passions. He would listen to no defence of the decision of the 
Chapter of Perugia. In consistory a Franciscan cardinal and some 
bishops timidly ventured to suggest that possibly there might be 
some truth in it, when he angrily silenced them — " You are talking 
heresy " — and forced them to recant on the spot. When he heard 
that the greatest Franciscan schoolman of the day, William of 
Ockham, had preached that it was heretical to affirm that Christ 
and the apostles owned property, he promptly wrote to the Bishops 
of Bologna and Ferrara to investigate the truth of the report, 
and if it was correct to cite Ockham to appear before him at 
Avignon within a month. Ockham obeyed, and we shall hereafter 
see what came of it.f 

The papal decision on the momentous question was at last put 
forth, ^November 12, 1323, in the bull Cum inter nonnullos. In 
this there was no wavering or hesitation. The assertion that 
Christ and the apostles possessed no property was flatly declared 
to be a perversion of Scripture; it was denounced for the fut- 
ure as erroneous and heretical, and its obstinate assertion by the 
Franciscan chapter was formally condemned. To the believers 
in the supereminent holiness of poverty, it was stunning to find 
themselves cast out as heretics for holding a doctrine which for 
generations had passed as an incontrovertible truth, and had repeat- 
edly received the sanction of the Holy See in its most solemn form 

* Nicholaus Minorita (Bal. et Mansi III. 213-24). 
f Wadding, ann. 1323, No. 3, 15. 


of ratification. Yet there was no help for it, and unless they were 
prepared to shift their belief with the pope, they could only ex- 
pect to be delivered in this world to the Inquisition and in the 
next to Satan.* 

Suddenly there appeared a new factor in the quarrel, which 
speedily gave it importance as a political question of the first mag- 
nitude. The sempiternal antagonism between the papacy and the 
empire had been recently assuming a more virulent aspect than 
usual under the imperious management of John XXII. Henry 
VII. had died in 1313, and in October, 1311, there had been a dis- 
puted election. Louis of Bavaria and Frederic of Austria both 
claimed the kaisership. Since Leo III., in the year 800, had re- 
newed the line of Roman emperors by crowning Charlemagne, 
the ministration of the pope in an imperial coronation had been 
held essential, and had gradually enabled the Holy See to put 
forward undefined claims of a right to confirm the vote of the 
German electors. For the enforcement of such claims a disputed 
election gave abundant opportunity, nor were there lacking other 
elements to complicate the position. The Angevine papalist King 
of Naples, Robert the Good, had dreams of founding a great Ital- 
ian Guelf monarchy, to which John XXII. lent a not unfavorable' 
ear ; especially as his quarrel with the Ghibelline Yisconti of Lom- 
bardy was becoming unappeasable. The traditional enmity be- 
tween France and Germany, moreover, rendered the former eager 
in everything that could cripple the empire, and French influence 
was necessarily dominant in Avignon. It would be foreign to our 
purpose to penetrate into the labyrinth of diplomatic intrigue 
which speedily formed itself around these momentous questions. 
An alliance between Robert and Frederic, with the assent of the 
pope, seemed to give the latter assurance of recognition, when 
the battle of Muhldorf, September 28, 1322, decided the question. 
Frederic was a prisoner in the hands of his rival, and there could 
be no further doubt as to which of them should reign in Germany. 
It did not follow, however, that John would consent to place the 
imperial crown on the head of Louis, t 

* Nicholaus Minority (Bal. et Mansi III. 224). 

t Carl Miiller, Der Kampf Ludwigs des Baiern mit der romischen Curie, § 4. 
— Felten, Die Bulle Ne pretereat, Trier, 1885.— Preger, Die Politik des Pabstes 
Johann XXII., Munchen, 1885, pp. 44-6. 


So far was he from contemplating any such action that he still 
insisted on deciding between the claims of the competitors. Louis 
contemptuously left his pretensions unanswered and proceeded to 
settle matters by concluding a treaty with his prisoner and setting 
him free. Moreover, he intervened effectually in the affairs of 
Lombardy, rescued the Yisconti from the Guelf league which was 
about to overwhelm them, and ruined the plans of the cardinal 
legate, Bertrand de Poyet, John's nephew or son, who was carv- 
ing out a principality for himself. It would have required less 
than this to awaken the implacable hostility of such a man as 
John, whose only hope for the success of his Italian policy now 
lay in dethroning Louis and replacing him with the French king, 
Charles le Bel. He rushed precipitately to the conflict and pro- 
claimed no quarter. October 8, 1323, in the presence of a vast 
multitude, a bull was read and affixed to the portal of the cathe- 
dral of Avignon, which declared not only that no one could act as 
King of the Romans until his person had been approved by the 
pope, but repeated a claim, already made in 1317, that until such 
approval the empire was vacant, and its government during the 
interregnum belonged to the Holy See. All of Louis's acts were 
pronounced null and void ; he was summoned within three months 
to lay down his power and submit his person to the pope for ap- 
proval, under pain of the punishments which he had incurred by 
his rebellious pretence of being emperor ; all oaths of allegiance 
taken to him were declared annulled ; all prelates were threat- 
ened with suspension, and all cities and states with excommuni- 
cation and interdict if they should continue to obey him. Louis 
at first received this portentous missive with singular humility. 
November 12 he sent to Avignon envoys, who did not arrive until 
January 2, 1324, to ask whether the reports which he had heard 
of the papal action were true, and if so to request a delay of six 
months in which to prove his innocence. To this John, on Janu- 
ary 7, gave answer extending the term only two months from that 
day. Meanwhile Louis had taken heart, possibly encouraged by 
the outbreak of the quarrel between John and the Franciscans, 
for the date of the credentials of the envoys, November 12, was 
the same as that of the bull Gum inter nonnullos. On December 
18, he issued the Nuremberg Protest, a spirited vindication of the 
rights of the German nation and empire against the new preten- 


sions of the papacy ; he demanded the assembling of a general 
council before which he would make good his claims ; it was his 
duty, as the head of the empire, to maintain the purity of the 
faith against a pope who was a fautor of heretics. It shows how 
little he yet understood about the questions at issue that to sus- 
tain this last charge he accused John of unduly protecting the 
Franciscans against universal complaints that they habitually vio- 
lated the secrecy of the confessional, this being apparently his 
version of the papal condemnation of John of Poilly's thesis that 
confession to a Mendicant friar was insufficient.* 

If Louis at first thought to gain strength by thus utilizing the 
jealousy and dislike felt by the secular clergy towards the Men- 
dicants, he soon realized that a surer source of support was to be 
found in espousing the side of the Franciscans in the quarrel forced 
upon them by John. The two months' delay granted by John ex- 
pired March 7 without Louis making an appearance, and on March 
25 the pope promulgated against him a sentence of excommunica- 
tion, with a threat that he should be deprived of all rights if he 
did not submit within three months. To this Louis speedily re- 
joined in a document known as the Protest of Sachsenhausen, which 
shows that since December he had put himself in communication 
with the disaffected Franciscans, had entered into alliance with 
them, and had recognized how great was the advantage of posing 
as the defender of the faith and assailing the pope with the charge 
of heresy. After paying due attention to John's assaults on the 
rights of the empire, the Protest takes up the question of his 
recent bulls respecting poverty and argues them in much detail. 
John had declared before Franciscans of high standing that for 
forty years he had regarded the Rule of Francis as fantastic and 
impossible. As the Eule was revealed by Christ, this alone proves 
him to be a heretic. Moreover, as the Church is infallible in its 
definitions of faith, and as it has repeatedly, through Honorius 
III., Innocent IV., Alexander IV., Innocent V., Nicholas III., and 
Nicholas IV., pronounced in favor of the poverty of Christ and the 
apostles, John's condemnation of this tenet abundantly shows him 

* Carl Miiller, op. cit. § 5.— Preger, Politik des Pabstes Johann XXII. (Miin- 
chen, 1885, pp. 7, 54). — Martene Thesaur. II. 644-51. — Raynald. ann. 1323, 
No. 34-5. 


to be a heretic. His two constitutions, Ad conditorem and Cum 
inter nonnullos, therefore, have cut him off from the Church as a 
manifest heretic teaching a condemned heresy, and have disabled 
him from the papacy ; all of which Louis swore to prove before a 
general council to be assembled in some place of safety.* 

John proceeded with his prosecution of Louis by a further dec- 
laration, issued July 11, in which, without deigning to notice the 
Protest of Sachsenhausen, he pronounced Louis to have forfeited 
by his contumacy all claim to the empire ; further obstinacy would 
deprive him of his ancestral dukedom of Bavaria and other pos- 
sessions, and he was summoned to appear October 1, to receive 
final sentence. Yet John could not leave unanswered the assault 
upon his doctrinal position, and on November 10 he issued the bull 
Quia quoru?nda?n, in which he argued that he had exercised no 
undue power in contradicting the decisions of his predecessors : he 
declared it a condemned heresy to assert that Christ and the apos- 
tles had only simple usufruct, without legal possession, in the 
things which Scripture declared them to have possessed, for if this 
were true it would follow that Christ was unjust, which is blas- 
phemy. All who utter, write, or teach such doctrines fall into 
condemned heresy, and are to be avoided as heretics. f 

Thus the poverty of Christ was fairly launched upon the world 
as a European question. It is a significant illustration of the intel- 
lectual condition of the fourteenth century that in the subsequent 

* Martene Thesaur. II. 652-9.— Xich. Minorita (Bal. et Mansi III. 224-33). 

The date of the Protest of Sachsenhausen is not positively known, but it was 
probably issued in April or May, 1324 (Miiller, op. cit. I. 357-8). Its authorship 
is ascribed by Preger to Franz von Lautern. and Ehrle has shown that much of 
its argumentation is copied literally from the writings of Olivi (Archiv fur Litt.- 
u. Kirchengeschichte, 1887, 540). When there were negotiations for a settlement 
in 1336, Louis signed a declaration prepared by Benedict XII., in which he was 
made to say that the portions concerning the poverty of Christ were inserted 
without his knowledge by his notary, Ulric der Wilde for the purpose of injur- 
ing him (Raynald ann. 1336, No. 31-5); but he accompanied this self-abasing 
statement with secret instructions of a very different character (Preger, Kirchen- 
politische Kampf, p. 12). 

t Martene Thesaur. II. 660-71.— Nich. Minorita (Bal. et Mansi III. 233-6). 

Even in far-off Ireland the bull of July 11, depriving Louis of the empire, was 
read in all the churches in English and Irish. — Theiner, Monument. Hibern. et 
Scotor. No. 456, p. 230. 


stages of the quarrel between the papacy and the empire, involv- 
ing the most momentous principles of public law, those principles, 
in the manifestoes of either side, assume quite a subordinate posi- 
tion. The shrewd and able men who conducted the controversy 
evidently felt that public opinion was much more readily influ- 
enced by accusations of heresy, even upon a point so trivial and 
unsubstantial, than by appeals to reason upon the conflicting juris- 
dictions of Church and State.* Yet, as the quarrel widened and 
deepened, and as the stronger intellects antagonistic to papal pre- 
tensions gathered around Louis, they were able, in unwonted lib- 
erty of thought and speech, to investigate the theory of govern- 
ment and the claims of the papacy with unheard-of boldness. 
Unquestionably they aided Louis in his struggle, but the spirit of 
the age was against them. Spiritual authority was still too aw- 
ful for successful rebellion, and when Louis passed away affairs 
returned to the old routine, and the labors of the men who had 
waged his battle in the hope of elevating humanity disappeared, 
leaving but a doubtful trace upon the modes of thought of the 

The most audacious of these champions was Marsiglio of Padua. 
Interpenetrated with the principles of the imperial jurisprudence, 
in which the State was supreme and the Church wholly subordi- 
nated, he had seen in France how the influence of the Roman law 
was emancipating the civil power from servitude, and perhaps in 
the University of Paris had heard the echoes of the theories of 
Henry of Ghent, the celebrated Doctor Solemnis, who had taught 
the sovereignty of the people over their princes. He framed a 
conception of a political organization which should reproduce that 
of Pome under the Christian emperors, with a recognition of the 
people as the ultimate source of all civil authority. Aided by Jean 
de Jandun he developed these ideas with great hardihood and 
skill in his "Defensor Pads" and in 1326, when the strife be- 
tween John and Louis was at its hottest, the two authors left 
Paris to lay the result of their labors before the emperor. In a 
brief tract, moreover, " De translatione imperii" Marsiglio subse- 

* See the documents in the second prosecution of Louis by John, where the 
accusations against him constantly commence with his pertinacious heresy in 
maintaining the condemned doctrine of the poverty of Christ. — Martene Thesaur. 
II. G82 sqq. Cf. Guill. Nangiac. Contin. ann. 1328. 


quently sketched the manner in which the Holy Roman Empire 
had arisen, showing the ancient subjection of the Holy See to the 
imperial power, and the baselessness of the papal claims to confirm 
the election of the emperors. John XXII. had no hesitation in 
condemning the daring authors as heretics, and the protection 
which Louis afforded them added another count to the indictment 
against him for heresy. Unable to wreak vengeance upon them, 
all who could be supposed to be their accomplices were sternly 
dealt with. A certain Francesco of Venice, who had been a stu- 
dent with Marsiglio at Paris, was seized and carried to Avignon 
on a charge of having aided in the preparation of the wicked book, 
and of having supplied the heresiarch with money. Tried before 
the Apostolic Chamber, he stoutly maintained that he was igno- 
rant of the contents of the "Defensor Pads" that he had depos- 
ited money with Marsiglio, as was customar} r with scholars, and 
that Marsiglio had left Paris owing him thirteen sols parisis. Jean 
de Jandun died in 1328, and Marsiglio not later than 1343, thus 
mercifully spared the disappointment of the failure of their theo- 
ries. In so far as purely intellectual conceptions had weight in 
the conflict they were powerful allies for Louis. In the " Defen- 
sor Pads" the power of the keys is argued away in the clearest 
dialectics. God alone has power to judge, to absolve, to condemn. 
The pope is no more than any other priest, and a priestly sentence 
may be the result of hatred, favor, or injustice, of no weight with 
God. Excommunication, to be effective, must not proceed from 
the judgment of a single priest, but must be the sentence of the 
whole community, with full knowledge of all the facts. It is no 
wonder that when, in 1376, a French translation of the work ap- 
peared in Paris it created a profound sensation. A prolonged 
inquest was held, lasting from September to December, in which 
all the learned men in the city were made to swear before a notary 
as to their ignorance of the translator.* 

* Altmayer, Les Precurseurs de la Reforme aux Pays-Bas, Bruxelles, 1886, I. 
38. — Guillel. Nangiac. Contin. arm. 1326. — Fasciculus Rer. Expetendarum et 
Fugiend. II. 55, Ed. 1690.— D'Argentre, I. i. 304-11, 397-400.— Baluz, et Mansi 
II. 280-1. — Martene Thesaur. II. 704-16. — Preger, Kirchenpolitische Kainpf, 
pp. 34, 65. — Defensor. Pacis II. 6. 

The manner in which Fritsche Closener, a contemporary priest of Strassburg, 
speaks of the Defensor Pacis shows what an impression it made, and that even 


More vehement and more fluent as a controversialist was the 
great schoolman, William of Ockham. When the final breach 
came between the papacy and the rigid Franciscans he was al- 
ready under inquisitorial trial for his utterances. Escaping from 
Avignon with his general, Michele, he found refuge, like the rest, 
with Louis, whose cause he strengthened by skilfully linking the 
question of Christ's poverty with that of German independence. 
Those who refused to accept a papal definition on a point of faith 
could only justify themselves by proving that popes were fallible 
and their power not unlimited. Thus the strife over the narrow 
Franciscan dogmatism on poverty broadened until it embraced 
the great questions which had disturbed the peace of Europe since 
the time of Hildebrand, nearly three centuries before. In 1324 
Ockham boasted that he had set his face like flint against the 
errors of the pseudo-pope, and that so long as he possessed hand, 
paper, pens, and ink, no abuse or lies or persecution or persuasion 
would induce him to desist from attacking them. He kept his 
promise literally, and for twenty years he poured forth a series of 
controversial works in defence of the cause to which he had de- 
voted his life. Without embracing the radical doctrines of Mar- 
siglio on the popular foundation of political institutions, he practi- 
cally reached the same outcome. While admitting the primacy of 
the pope, he argued that a pope can fall into heresy, and so, in- 
deed, can a general council, and even all Christendom. The influ- 
ence of the Holy Ghost did not deprive man of free-will and 
prevent him from succumbing to error, no matter what might be 
his station. There was nothing sure but Scripture; the poorest 
and meanest peasant might adhere to Catholic truth revealed to 
him by God, while popes and councils erred. Above the pope is 
the general council representing the whole Church. A pope re- 
fusing to entertain an appeal to a general council, declining to as- 
semble it, or arrogating its authority to himself is a manifest 
heretic, whom it is the duty of the bishops to depose, or, if the 
bishops refuse, then that of the emperor, who is supreme over the 
earth. But it was not only by the enunciation of general princi- 

a portion of the clergy was uot averse to its conclusions. — Closeners Chronik 
(Chroniken der deutschen Stadte VIII. 70.— Cf. Chron. des Jacob von Konigs- 
bofen, lb. p. 473). 


pies that he carried on the war ; merciless were his assaults on the 
errors and inconsistencies of John XXII. , who was proved guilty 
of seventy specific heresies. Thus to the bitter end his dauntless 
spirit kept up the strife ; one by one his colleagues died and sub- 
mitted, and he was left alone, but he continued to shower ridicule 
on the curia and its creatures in his matchless dialectics. Even 
the death of Louis and the hopeless defeat of his cause did not stop 
his fearless pen. Church historians claim that in 134:9 he at last 
made his peace and was reconciled, but this is more than doubtful. 
for Giacomo della Marca classes him with Michele and Bonagrazia 
as the three unrepentant heretics who died under excommunica- 
tion. It is not easy to determine with accuracy what influence 
was exercised by the powerful intellects which England. France, 
and Italy thus contributed to the defence of German independence. 
Possibly they may have stimulated Wickliff to question the founda- 
tion of papal power and the supremacy of the Church over the 
State, leading to Hussite insubordination. Possibly, too, they may 
have contributed to the movement which in various development 
emboldened the Councils of Constance and Basle to claim superi- 
ority over the Holy See, the Gallican Church to assert its liberties, 
and England to frame the hostile legislation of the Statutes of 
Pro visors and Praemunire. If this be so, the hopeless entangle- 
ments of German politics caused them to effect less in their own 
chosen battle-field than in lands far removed from the immediate 
scene of conflict.* 

This rapid glance at the larger aspects of the strife has been 
necessary to enable us to follow intelligently the vicissitudes of 
the discussion over the poverty of Christ, which occupied in the 
struggle a position ludicrously disproportionate to its importance. 
For some time after the issue of the bulls C<r,n inter nonn ullos and 
Quia quorumdam there was a sort of armed neutrality between 
John and the heads of the Franciscan Order. Each seemed to be 
afraid of taking a step which should precipitate a conflict, doubt- 

* Martene Thesaur. II. 749-52. — Tocco, L'Eresia nel Medio Evo, pp. 532-555. 
— Preger, Der Kircbenpolitische Kampf, pp. 8-9. — Carl Miiller. op. cit. II. 251- 
2,— Trithem. Chron. Hirsaug. ann. 1323.— Raynald. ami. 1349, No. 16-17.— Jac. 
de Marchia Dial. (Bal. et Mausi II. 600). 


less secretly felt by both sides to be inevitable. Still there was a 
little skirmishing for position. In 1325 Michele had summoned 
the general chapter to assemble at Paris, but he feared that an ef- 
fort would be made to annul the declarations of Perugia, and that 
John would exercise a pressure by means of King Charles le Bel, 
whose influence was great through the number of benefices at his 
disposal. Suddenly, therefore, he transferred the call to Lyons, 
where considerable trouble was experienced through the efforts of 
Gerard Odo, a creature of the pope, and subsequently the suc- 
cessor of Michele, to obtain relaxations of the Pule as regarded 
poverty. Still the brethren stood firm, and these attempts were 
defeated, while a constitution threatening with imprisonment all 
who should speak indiscreetly and disrespectfully of John XXII. 
and his decretals indicates the passions which were seething under 
the surface» Not long after this we hear of a prosecution suddenly 
commenced against our old acquaintance Ubertino da Casale, in 
spite of his Benedictine habit and his quiet residence in Italy. 
He seems to have been suspected of having furnished the argu- 
ments on the subject of the poverty of Christ in the Protest of 
Sachsenhausen, and, September 16, 1325, an order was sent for his 
arrest, but he got wind of it and escaped to Germany — the first 
of the illustrious band of refugees who gathered around Louis of 
Bavaria, though he appears to have made his peace in 1330. John 
seems to have at last grown restive at the tacit insubordination of 
the Franciscans, who did not openly deny his definitions as to the 
poverty of Christ, but whom he knew to be secretly cherishing in 
their hearts the condemned doctrine. In 1326 Michele issued de- 
crees subjecting to a strict censorship all writings by the brethren 
and enforcing one of the rules which prohibited the discussion of 
doubtful opinions, thus muzzling the Order in the hope of averting 
dissension ; but it was not in John's nature to rest satisfied with 
silence which covered opposition, and in August, 1327, he advanced 
to the attack. In the bull Quia nonnunquam, addressed to arch- 
bishops and inquisitors, he declared that many still believed in the 
poverty of Christ in spite of his having pronounced such belief a 
heresy, and that those who entertained it should be treated as 
heretics. He therefore now orders the prelates and inquisitors to 
prosecute them vigorously, and though the Franciscans are not 
specially named, the clause which deprives the accused of all papal 


privileges and subjects them to the ordinary jurisdictions suffi- 
ciently shows that they were the object of the assault. It is quite 
possible that this was provoked by some movement among the re- 
mains of the moderate Spirituals of Italy — men who came to be 
known as Fraticelli — who had never indulged in the dangerous 
enthusiasms of the Olivists, but who were ready to suffer martyr- 
dom in defence of the sacred principles of poverty. Such men 
could not but have been at once excited by the papal denial of 
Christ's poverty, and encouraged by finding the Order at large 
driven into antagonism with the Holy See. Sicily had long been 
a refuge for the more zealous when forced to flee from Italy. At 
this time we hear of their crossing back to Calabria, and of John 
writing to Xiccolo da Reggio, the Minister of Calabria, savage in- 
structions to destroy them utterly. Lists are to be made out and 
sent to him of all who show them favor, and King Robert is ap- 
pealed to for aid in the good work. Robert, in spite of his close 
alliance with the pope, and the necessity of the papal favor for his 
ambitious plans, was sincerely on the side of the Franciscans. He 
seems never to have forgotten the teachings of Arnaldo de Vila- 
nova, and as his father, Charles the Lame, had interfered to protect 
the Spirituals of Provence, so now both he and his queen did what 
they could with the angry pope to moderate his wrath, and at the 
same time he urged the Order to stand firm in defence of the Rule. 
In the protection which he afforded he did not discriminate closely 
between the organized resistance of the Order under its general, 
and the irregular mutiny of the Fraticelli. His dominions, as well 
as Sicily, served as a refuge for the latter. AVith the troubles 
provoked by John their numbers naturally grew. Earnest spirits, 
dissatisfied with Michele's apparent acquiescence in John's new 
heresy, would naturally join them. They ranged themselves un- 
der Henry da Ceva, who had fled to Sicily from persecution un- 
der Boniface Till. ; they elected him their general minister and 
formed a complete independent organization, which, when John 
triumphed over the Order, gathered in its recalcitrant fragments 
and constituted a sect whose strange persistence under the fiercest 
persecution we shall have to follow for a century and a half.* 

* Wadding, arm. 1317, No. 9 ; arm. 1318, No. 8 ; arm. 1323. No. 16 ; ann. 1325, 
No. 6; ann. 1331, No. 3.— Chron. Glassbergerann. 1325,1326, 1330.— Raynald. ann. 


On the persecution of these insubordinate brethren Michele da 
Cesena could afford to look with complacency, and he evidently 
desired to regard the bull of August, 1327, as directed against 
them. He maintained his attitude of submission. In June the 
pope had summoned him from Home to Avignon, and he had ex- 
cused himself on the ground of sickness. His messengers with his 
apologies were graciously received, and it was not until December 
2 that he presented himself before John. The pope subsequently 
declared that he had been summoned to answer for secretly en- 
couraging rebels and heretics, and doubtless the object was to be 
assured of his person, but he was courteously welcomed, and tne 
ostensible reason given for sending for him was certain troubles 
in the provinces of Assisi and Aragon, in which Michele obediently 
changed the ministers. Until April, 1328, he remained in the papal 
court, apparently on the best of terms with John.* 

Meanwhile the quarrel between the empire and the papacy had 
been developing apace. In the spring of 1326 Louis suddenly and 
without due preparation undertook an expedition to Italy, at the 
invitation of the Ghibellines, for his imperial coronation. When 
he reached Milan in April to receive the iron crown John sternly 
forbade his further progress, and on this being disregarded, pro- 
ceeded to excommunicate him afresh. Thus commenced another 
prolonged series of citations and sentences for heresy, including 
the preaching of a crusade with Holy Land indulgences against 
the impenitent sinner. Unmoved by this, Louis slowly made his 
way to Rome, which he entered January 7, 1327, and where he 
was crowned on the 17th, in contemptuous defiance of papal pre- 
rogative, by four syndics elected by the people, after which, ac- 
cording to usage, he exchanged the title of King of the Romans 
for that of Emperor. As the defender of the faith he proceeded 
to. try the pope on the charge of heresy, based upon his denial of 
the poverty of Christ. April 14 he promulgated a law authorizing 
the prosecution and sentence in absentia of those notoriously de- 
famed for treason or heresy, thus imitating the papal injustice of 

1325, No. 20, 27.— Franz Ehrle (Archiv fur L. u. »K. 1886, p. 151).— Martene 
Thesaur. II. 752-3.— Vitoduran. Chron. (Eccard. Corp. Hist. I. 1799).— D' Argen- 
ts, I. 1. 297.— Eymeric. pp. 291-4. 

* Martene Thesaur. II. 749. — Baluz. et Mansi III. 315-16. — Nicbolaus Minorita 
( Mansi III. 238-40). 
III.— 10 


which he himself complained bitterly ; and, on the 17th, sentence 
of deposition was solemnly read to the assembled people before 
the basilica of St. Peter. It recited that it was rendered at the 
request of the clergy and people of Rome; it recapitulated the 
crimes of the pope, whom it stigmatized as Antichrist ; it pro- 
nounced him a heretic on account of his denying the poverty of 
Christ, deposed him from the papacy, and threatened confiscation 
on all who should render him support and assistance.* 

As a pope was necessary to the Church, and as the college of 
cardinals were under excommunication as fautors of heresy, re- 
course was had to the primitive method of selection : some form 
of election by the people and clergy of Rome was gone through 
on May 12, and a new Bishop of Rome was presented to the 
Christian world in the person of Pier di Corbario, an aged Fran- 
ciscan of high repute for austerity and eloquence. He was Minis- 
ter of the province of the Abruzzi and papal penitentiary. He 
had been married, his wife was still living, and he was said to 
have entered the Order without her consent, which rendered him 
" irregular " and led to an absurd complication, for the woman, 
who had never before complained of his leaving her, now came 
forward and put in her claims to be bought off. He assumed the 
name of Nicholas V., a college of cardinals was readily created 
for him, he appointed nuncios and legates and proceeded to de- 
grade the Guelfic bishops and replace them with Ghibellines. In 
the confusion attendant upon these revolutionary proceedings it 
can be readily imagined that the Fraticelli emerged from their 
hiding-places and indulged in glowing anticipations of the future 
which they fondly deemed their own.f 

Although the Franciscan prefect of the Roman province as- 
sembled a chapter at Anagni which pronounced against Pier di 
Corbario, and ordered him to lay aside his usurped dignity, it was 
impossible that the Order should escape responsibility for the re- 
bellion, nor is it likely that Michele da Cesena was not privy to 
the whole proceeding. He had remained quietly at Avignon, and 

* Chron. Sanens. (Muratori S. R. I. XV. 77. 79).— Martene Thesaur. II. 684- 
723.— Nicholaus Minorita (Bal. et Mansi III. 240-3). 

t Nicholaus Minorita (Bal. et Mansi III. 243). — Ptolotnaei Lucensis Hist. 
Eccles. cap. 41 (Muratori S. R. I. XL 1210).— Chron. Sanens. (Muratori XV. 80). 
—Wadding, ann. 1328, No. 2-4, 8 -11. 


John had manifested no abatement of cordiality until April 9, 
when, on being summoned to an audience, the pope attacked him 
on the subject of the Chapter of Perugia, which six years before had 
asserted the poverty of Christ and the apostles. Michele stoutly 
defended the utterances of the chapter, saying that if they were 
heretical then Nicholas IV. and the other popes who had affirmed 
the doctrine were heretics. Then the papal wrath exploded. 
Michele was a headstrong fool, a fautor of heretics, a serpent nour- 
ished in the bosom of the Church ; and when the stream of invective 
had exhausted itself he was placed under constructive arrest, and 
ordered not to leave Avignon without permission, under pain of 
excommunication, of forfeiture of office, and of future disability. 
A few days later, on April 14, in the secrecy of the Franciscan con- 
vent, he relieved his feelings by executing a solemn notarial pro- 
test, in the presence of William of Ockham, Bonagrazia, and other 
trusty adherents, in which he recited the circumstances, argued that 
the pope either was a heretic or no pope, for either his present 
utterances were erroneous or else Nicholas IV. had been a heretic ; 
in the latter case Boniface VIII. and Clement V., who had approved 
the Bull Exiit qui seminat, were likewise heretics, their nominations 
of cardinals were void, and the conclave which elected John was 
illegal. He protested against whatever might be done m deroga- 
tion of the rights of the Order, that he was in durance and in just 
fear, and that what he might be forced to do would be null and 
void. The whole document is a melancholy illustration of the 
subterfuges rendered necessary by an age of violence.* 

Michele was detained in Avignon while the general chapter 
of the Order was held at Bologna, to which John sent Bertrand, 
Bishop of Ostia, with instructions to have another general chosen. 
The Order, however, was stubborn. It sent a somewhat defiant 
message to the pope and re-elected Michele, requesting him more- 
over to indicate Paris as the next place of assemblage, to be held, 
according to rule, in three years, to which he assented. In view 
of the drama which was developing in Rome he might reasonably 
fear for liberty or life. Preparations were made for his escape. 
A galley, furnished, according to John, by the Emperor Louis, but 
according to other and more trustworthy accounts, by Genoese 

Nicholaus Minorita (Bal. et Mansi III. 238-40). 


refugees, was sent to Aigues-mortes. Thither he fled, May 26, ac- 
companied by Ockhani and Bonagrazia. The Bishop of Porto, 
sent by John in hot haste after him, had an interview with him 
on the deck of his galley, but failed to induce him to return. He 
reached Pisa on June 9, and there ensued a war of manifestoes of 
unconscionable length, in which Michele was pronounced excom- 
municate and deposed, and John was proved to be a heretic who 
had rightfully forfeited the papacy. Michele could only carry on 
a worclv conflict, while John could act. Bertrand de la Tour, 
Cardinal of San Yitale, was appointed Vicar-general of the Order, 
another general chapter was ordered to assemble in Paris, June, 
1329, and preparations were made for it by removing all pro- 
vincials favorable to Michele. and appointing in their places men 
who could be relied on. Out of thirty-four who had met in 
Bologna only fourteen were seen in Paris ; Michele was deposed 
and Gerard Odo was elected in his place ; but even under this 
pressure no declaration condemning the poverty of Christ could 
be obtained from the chapter. The mass of the Order, reduced 
to silence, remained faithful to the principles represented by its 
deposed general, until forced to acquiescence by the arbitrary 
measures so freely employed by the pope and the examples made 
of those who dared to express opposition. Still John Avas not dis- 
posed to relax the Franciscan discipline, and when, in 1332, Gerard 
Odo, in the hope of gaining a cardinal's hat, persuaded fourteen 
provincial ministers to join him in submitting a gloss which would 
have virtually annulled the obligation of poverty, his only reward 
was the ridicule of the pope and sacred college.* 

* Xicholaus Minonta (Baluz. et Mansi III. 243-349).— Jac. de Marchia Dial. 
(Ibid. II. 598).— Chron. Sanens. (Muratori S. R. I. XV. 81).— Vitodurani Chron. 
(Eccard. Corp. Hist. I. 1799-1800).— Marteue Tbesaur. II. 757-60.— Alvar. Pelag. 
De Planctu Eccles. Lib. n. art. 67. 

The career of Cardinal Bertrand de la Tour illustrates the pliability of con- 
science requisite to those who served John XXII. He was a Franciscan of high 
standing. As Provincial of Aquitaine he had persecuted the Spirituals. 
Elevated to the cardinalate, when John called for opinions on the question of 
the poverty of Christ he had argued in the affirmative. In conjunction with 
Vitale du Four, Cardinal of Albano, lie had secretly drawn up the declaration of 
the Chapter of Perugia which so angered the pope, but when the latter made up 
his mind that Christ had owned property, the cardinal promptly changed his 


The settlement of the question depended much more upon 
political than upon religious considerations. Louis had abandoned 
Rome and established himself in Pisa with his pope, his cardinals, 
and his Franciscans, but the Italians were becoming tired of their 
kaiser. It mattered little that in January, 1329, he indulged in 
the childish triumph of solemnly burning John XXII. in effigy ; 
he was obliged soon after to leave the city, and towards the end 
of the year he returned to Germany, carrying with him the men 
who were to defend his cause with all the learning of the schools, 
and abandoning to their fate those of his partisans who were 
unable to follow him.* The proceedings which ensued at Todi 
will serve to show how promptly the Inquisition tracked his re- 
treating footsteps, and how useful it was as a political agency in 
reducing rebellious communities to submission. 

The Todini were Ghibelline. In 1327, when John XXII. had 
ordered Francisco Damiani, Inquisitor of Spoleto, to proceed vigor- 
ously against Mucio Canistrario of Todi as a rebel against the 
Church, and Mucio had accordingly been imprisoned, the people 
had risen in insurrection and liberated the captive, while the 
inquisitor had been forced to fly for his life. In August, 1328, they 
had welcomed Louis as emperor and Pier di Corbario as pope, and 
had ordered their notaries to use the regnal years of the latter in 
their instruments ; they had, moreover, attacked and taken the 
Guelf city of Orvieto and, like all the cities which adhered to 
Louis, they had expelled the Dominicans. In August, 1329, aban- 
doned by Louis, proceedings were commenced against them by the 
Franciscan, Fra Bartolino da Perugia, the inquisitor, who an- 
nounced his intention of making a thorough inquest of the whole 
district of Assisi against all Patarins and heretics, against those 
who assert things not to be sins which the Church teaches to be 
sins, or are minor sins which the Church holds to be greater, 
against those who understand the Scriptures in a sense different 
from what the Holy Spirit demands, against those who talk 
against the state and observance of the Roman Church and its 

convictions, and was now engaged in persecuting those who adhered to the 
belief which lie had prescribed for them. — Tocco, Un Codice della Marciana, pp. 

* Chron. Cornel. Zantfliet (Martene Ainpl. Coll. V. 187).— Villani, Lib. x. c. 
126, 144. 


teachings, and against those who have detracted from the dignity 
and person of the pope and his constitutions. Under this search- 
ing examinations were made as to the acts of the citizens during 
the visit of Louis, any sign of respect paid to him being regarded 
as a crime, and two sets of prosecutions were commenced — one 
against the Ghibellines of the city and the other against the 
" rebellious " Franciscans. These latter were summoned to reply 
to five articles — 1, If they believed in, favored, or adhered to the 
Bavarian and the intrusive antipope; 2, If they had marched 
with a cross to meet these heretics on their entrance into Todi ; 
3, If they had obeyed or done reverence to the Bavarian as em- 
peror or to P. di Corbario as pope; 4, If they had taught or 
preached that the constitutions of John were heretical or himself 
a heretic ; 5, If, after Michele da Cesena was condemned and de- 
posed for heresy, they had adhered to him and his errors. These 
interrogations show how conveniently the religious and political 
questions were mingled together, and how thorough was the 
investigation rendered possible by the machinery of the Inquisi- 
tion. The proceedings dragged on, and, July 1, 1330, John con- 
demned the whole community as heretics and fautors of heresy. 
July 7 he sent this sentence to the legate, Cardinal Orsini, with 
instructions to cite the citizens peremptorily and to try them, 
according to the inquisitorial formula, " summarie et de piano et 
s-hie strepitu et jigura" Under this the Todini finally made sub- 
mission, the cardinal sent Fra Bartolino and his colleague thither, 
and the city was reconciled, subject to the papal approval. They 
had been obliged to make a gift of ten thousand florins to Louis, and 
now a fine of equal amount was levied upon them, besides one hun- 
dred lire imposed on each of one hundred and thirty-four citizens. 
Apparently the terms exacted were not satisfactory to John, for a 
papal brief of July 20, 1331, declared the submission of the citizens 
deceitful, and ordered the interdict renewed. The last document 
which we have in the case is one of June 1, 1332, in which the legate 
sends to the Bishop of Todi a list of one hundred and ninety-seven 
persons, including Franciscans, parish priests, heads of religious 
houses, nobles, and citizens, who are ordered to appear before him 
at Orvieto on June 15, to stand trial on the inquisitions which 
have been found against them. That the proceedings were pushed 
to the bitter end there can be no doubt, for when in this year the 


General Gerard Odo proposed to revoke the commission of Fra 
Bartolino, John intervened and extended it for the purpose of 
enabling him to continue the prosecutions to a definite sentence. 
This is doubtless a fair specimen of the minute persecution Avhich 
was going on wherever the Ghibellines were not strong enough to 
defend themselves by force of arms.* 

As for the unhappy antipope, his fate was even more deplora- 
ble. Confided at Pisa bv Louis to the care of Count Fazio da 


Doneratico, the leading noble of the city, he was concealed for 
a while in a castle in Maremma. June 18, 1329, the Pisans rose 
and drove out the imperialist garrison, and in the following Janu- 
ary they were reconciled to the Church. A part of the bargain 
was the surrender of Pier di Corbario, to whom John promised to 
show himself a kind father and benevolent friend, besides enrich- 
ing Fazio for the betrayal of his trust. After making public ab- 
juration of his heresies in Pisa, Pier was sent, guarded by two state 
galleys, to Nice, where he was delivered to the papal agents. In 
every town on the road to Avignon he was required publicly to 
repeat his abjuration and humiliation. August 25, 1330, with a 
halter around his neck, he was brought before the pope in public 
consistory. Exhausted and broken with shame and suffering, he 
flung himself at his rival's feet and begged for mercy, abjuring and 
anathematizing his heresies, and especially that of the poverty of 
Christ. Then, in a private consistory, he was made again to con- 
fess a long catalogue of crimes, and to accept such penance as 
might be awarded him. No humiliation was spared him, and 
nothing was omitted to make his abject recantation complete. 
Having thus rendered him an object of contempt and deprived 
him of all further power of harm, John mercifully spared him 
bodily torment. He was confined in an apartment in the papal 
palace, fed from the papal table, and allowed the use of books, but 
no one was admitted to see him without a special papal order. 
His wretched life soon came to an end, and when he died, in 1333, 
he was buried in the Franciscan habit. Considering the ferocity 
of the age, his treatment is one of the least discreditable acts in 
the career of John XXII. It was hardly to be expected, after the 

* Franz Ehrle (Archiv fur L. u K. 1885, pp. 159-64; 1886, pp. 653-69).— 
Archivio Storico Italiano, 1 Ott. 1865, pp. 10-21.— Ripoll II. 180.— Wadding, 
ann. 1326, No. 9; 1327, No. 3-4; 1331, No. 4; 1332, No. 5. 


savage vindictiveness of the Ernulphine curse which he had pub- 
lished, April 20, 1329, on his already fallen rival — ;; May he in 
this life feel the wrath of Peter and Paul, whose church he has 
sought to confound! May his dwelling-place be deserted, and 
may there be none to live under his roof! May his children be 
orphans, and his wife a widow ! May they be driven forth from 
their hearth-stones to beggary ! May the usurer devour their sub- 
stance, and strangers seize the work of their hands ! May the 
whole earth fight against him, mav the elements be his enemies, 
may the merits of all the saints at rest confound him and wreak 
vengeance on him through life !" * 

During the progress of this contest public opinion was by no 
means unanimous in favor of John, and the Inquisition was an ef- 
ficient instrumentality in repressing all expression of adverse sen- 
timents. In 1328, at Carcassonne, a certain Germain Frevier was 
tried before it for blaspheming against John, and stigmatizing his 
election as simoniacal because he had promised never to set foot 
in stirrup till he should set out for Rome. Germain, moreover, 
had declared that the Franciscan pope was the true pope, and that 
if he had money he would go there and join him and the Bavarian. 
Germain was not disposed to martyrdom ; at first he denied, then, 
after being left to his reflections in prison for five months, he 
pleaded that he had been drunk and knew not what he was say- 
ing; a further delay showed him that he was helpless, he con- 
fessed his offences and begged for mercy.f 

Another case, in 1329, shows us what were the secret feelings 
of a large portion of the Franciscan Order, and the means required 
to keep it in subordination. Before the Inquisition of Carcas- 
sonne, Frere Barthelemi Bruguiere confessed that in saying mass 
and coming to the prayer for the pope he had hesitated which of 
the two popes to pray for, and had finally desired his prayer to 
be for whichever was rightfully the head of the Church. Many 
of his brethren, he said, were in the habit of wishing that God 
would give John XXII. so much to do that he would forget the 

* Villani, Lib. x. c. 131, 142. 160 — Guill. Nangiac. Contin. ann. 1330.— Wad- 
ding, aim. 1330, No. 9.— Martene Thesaur. II. 736-70 ; 806-15.— Chron. Cornel. 
Zantfliet ann. 1330 (Martene Ampl. Coll. V. 194-8). 

t Archives de l'lnq. de Carcassonne (Doat. XXVII. 7 sqq.). 


Franciscans, for it seemed to them that his whole business was to 
afflict them. It was generally believed among them that their gen- 
eral, Michele, had been unjustly deposed and excommunicated. In 
a large assembly of friars he had said, " I wish that antipope was 
a Dominican, or of some other Order," when another rejoined, " I 
rejoice still more that the antipope is of our Order, for if he was 
of another we should have no friend, and now at least we have the 
Italian," whereat all present applauded. For a while Frore Bar- 
thelemi held out, but imprisonment with threats of chains and 
fasting broke down his resolution, and he threw himself upon the 
mercy of the inquisitor, Henri de Chamay. That mercy consisted 
in a sentence of harsh prison for life, with chains on hands and 
feet and bread and water for food. Possibly the Dominican in- 
quisitor may have felt pleasure in exhibiting a Franciscan pris- 
oner, for he allowed Barthelemi to retain his habit ; and it shows 
the minute care of John's vindictiveness that a year later he wrote 
expressly to Henri de Chamay reciting that, as the delinquent had 
been expelled from the Order, the habit must be stripped from 
him and be delivered to the Franciscan authorities.* 

In Germany the Franciscans for the most part remained faith- 
ful to Michele and Louis, and were of the utmost assistance to the 
latter in the struggle. The test was the observance of the inter- 
dict which for so many years suspended divine service throughout 
the empire, and was a sore trial to the faithful. To a great ex- 
tent this was disregarded by the Franciscans. It was to little 
purpose that, in January, 1331, John issued a special bull directed 
against them, deprived of all privileges and immunities those who 
recognized Louis as emperor and celebrated services in interdicted 
places, and ordered all prelates and inquisitors to prosecute them. 
On the other hand, Louis was not behindhand in enforcing obedi- 
ence by persecution wherever he had the power. An imperial 
brief of June, 1330, addressed to the magistrates of Aix, directs 
them to assist and protect those teachers of the truth, the Fran- 
ciscans Siegelbert of Landsberg and John of Eoyda, and to im- 
prison all their brethren whom they may designate as rebels to 
the empire and to the Order until the general, Michele, shall de- 
cide what is to be done with them. This shows that even in Ger- 

* Doat, XXVII. 202-3, 229 ; XXXV. 87. 


many the Order was not unanimous, but doubtless the honest 
Franciscan, John of Winterthur, reflects the feelings of the great 
body when he says that the reader will be struck with horror and 
stupor on learning the deeds with which the pope convulsed the 
Church. Inflamed by some madness, he sought to argue against 
the poverty of Christ, and when the Franciscans resisted him he 
persecuted them without measure. The Dominicans encouraged 
him, and he largely rewarded them. The traditional enmity be- 
tween the Orders found ample gratification. The Dominicans, to 
excite contempt for the Franciscans, exhibited paintings of Christ 
with a purse, putting in his hand to take out mone} r ; nay, to the 
horror of the faithful, on the walls of their monasteries, in the 
most frequented places, they pictured Christ hanging on the cross 
with one hand nailed fast, and with the other putting money in a 
pouch suspended from his girdle. Yet rancor and religious zeal 
did not wholly extinguish patriotism among the Dominicans ; they 
were, moreover, aggrieved by the sentence of heresy passed upon 
Master Eckart, which may perhaps explain the fact that Tauler 
supported Louis, as also did Margaret Ebner, one of the Friends 
of God, and the most eminent Dominican sister of the day. It is 
true that many Dominican convents were closed for years, and 
their inmates scattered and exiled for persistently refusing to cele- 
brate, but others complied unwillingly with the papal mandates. 
At Landshut they had ceased public service, but when the em- 
peror came there they secretly arranged with the Duke of Teck 
to assail their house with torches and threaten to burn it down, so 
that they might have the excuse of constraint for resuming public 
worship, and the comedy was successfully carried out. In fact, 
the General Chapter of 1328 complained that in Germany the 
brethren in many places were notably negligent in publishing the 
papal bulls about Louis.* 

All this, however, was but an episode in the political struggle, 
which was to be decided by the rivalries between the houses of 
"Wittelsbach, Hapsburg, and Luxemburg, and the intrigues of 
France. Louis gradually succeeded in arousing and centring 

* Martene Thesaur. II. 826-8.— Carl Muller, op. cit. I. 239.— Vitodurani Chron. 
(Eccard. Corp. Hist. I. 1798, 1800, 1844-5, 1871).— Andreas Ratisponens. Chron. 
ann. 1336 (Ibid. I. 2103-4).— Preger, Der Rirchenpolitische Kampf, pp. 42-5.— 
Denifle, Archiv fur Litt.- u. Kircbengescbichte, 1886. p. 624. 


upon himself the national spirit, aided therein by the arrogant dis- 
dain with which John XXII. and his successors received his re- 
peated offers of qualified submission. When, in 1330, Louis had 
temporarily secured the support of John of Luxemburg, King of 
Bohemia, and the Duke of Austria, and they offered themselves 
as sureties that he would fulfil what might be required of him, 
provided the independence of the empire was recognized, John re- 
torted that Louis was a heretic and thus incapacitated ; he was 
a thief and a robber, a wicked man who consorted with Michele, 
Ockham, Bonagrazia, and Marsiglio ; not only had he no title to 
the empire, but the state of Christendom would be inconceivably 
deplorable if he were recognized. After the death of John in De- 
cember, 1334, another attempt was made, but it suited the policy 
of France and of Bohemia to prolong the strife, and Benedict XII. 
was as firm as his predecessor. Louis was at all times ready to 
sacrifice his Franciscan allies, but the papacy demanded the right 
practically to dictate who should be emperor, and by a skilful use 
of appeals to the national pride Louis gradually won the support 
of an increasing number of states and cities. In 1338 the con- 
vention of Rhense and the Reichstag of Frankfort formally pro- 
claimed as a part of the law of the empire that the choice of the 
electors was final, and that the papacy had no confirmatory power. 
The interdict was ordered not to be observed, and in all the states 
adhering to Louis ecclesiastics were given the option of resuming 
public worship within eight days or of undergoing a ten years' 
exile. It was some relief to them in this dilemma that the Bo- 
man curia sold absolutions in such cases for a florin.* 

In the strife between Louis and the papacy the little colony of 
Franciscan refugees at Munich was of the utmost service to the 
imperial cause, but their time was drawing to an end. Michele 
da Cesena died November 29, 1342, his latest work being a long 
manifesto proving that John had died an unrepentant heretic, and 
that his successors in defending his errors were likewise heretics ; 
if but one man in Christendom holds the true faith, that man in 

* Martene Thesaur. II. 800-6. — Raynald. ann. 1336, No. 31-5. — Vitoduran 
Chron. (Eccard. Corp. Hist. I. 1842-5, 1910). — Preger, Der Kirchenpolitische 
Kampf, p. 33.— Hartzheim IV. 323-32.— H. Mutii Germ. Chron. ann. 1338 (Pis- 
torii Germ. Scriptt. II. 878-81). 


himself is the Church. The dithyrambic palinode which passes 
as his death-bed recantation is clearly a forgery, and there can be 
no doubt that Michele persisted to the end. When dying he 
handed the seal of the Order over to William of Ockham, who 
used it as Vicar-general ; he had already, in April, 1342, appointed 
two citizens of Munich. John Schito and Grimold Treslo, as syn- 
dics and procurators of the Order, the latter of whom subsequent- 
ly assumed the generalate. Bonagrazia died in June, 1347, de- 
claring with the last breath of his indomitable soul that the cause 
of Louis was righteous. The date of William of Ockham's death 
is uncertain, but it occurred between 1347 and 1350. - 

Thus dropped off, one by one, the men who had so gallantly 
defended the doctrine of the poverty of Christ. As regards the 
political conceptions which were the special province of Marsiglio 
and Ockham. their work was done, and they could exercise no 
further influence over the uncontrollable march of events. With 
the death of Benedict XII., in 1342, Louis made renewed efforts 
for pacification, but John of Bohemia was intriguing to secure the 
succession for his house, and they were fruitless, except to strength- 
en Louis by demonstrating the impossibility of securing terms 
tolerable to the empire. Still the intrigue went on. and in July, 
1346, the three ecclesiastical electors, Mainz, Treves, and Cologne, 
with Kodolph of Saxony, and John of Bohemia, assembled at 
Rhense under the impulsion of Clement VI. and elected the son 
of John, Charles Margrave of Moravia, as a rival king of the 
Bomans. The movement, however, had no basis of popular sup- 
port, and when Louis hastened to the Bhinelands all the cities and 
nearly all the princes and nobles adhered to him. Had the election 
been postponed for a few weeks it would never have taken place, 
for the next month occurred the battle of Crecy, where the gallant 
knight, John of Bohemia, died a chivalrous death, Charles, the 
newly-elected king, saved his life by flight, and French influence 
was temporarily eclipsed. Thus unauspiciously commenced, the 
reign of Charles IY. had little promise of duration, when, in Octo- 

* Vitoduran Chron. (Eccard. 1. 1844). — Sachsische Weltchronik. dritte bairisch 
Fortsetzung No. 9 (Pertz II. 346).— Baluz. et Mansi III. 349-55.— Muratori S. R. 
I. III. ii. 513-27.— Jac. de Marchia Dial. (Bal. et Mansi II. 600).— Preger, op. cit 
pp. 35-6.— Carl Miiller, op. cit. I. 370-2.— Chron. Glassberger ann. 1342, 1347. 


ber, 1347, Louis, while indulging in his favorite pastime of hunting, 
was struck with apoplexy and fell dead from his horse. The hand 
of God might well be traced in the removal of all the enemies of 
the Holy See, and Charles had no further organized opposition to 

Desirous of obtaining the fullest advantage from this unlooked- 
for good-fortune, Clement YI. commissioned the Archbishop of 
Prague and the Bishop of Bamberg to reconcile all communities and 
individuals who had incurred excommunication by supporting the 
Bavarian, with a formula of absolution by which they were obliged 
to swear that they heresy for an emperor to depose a pope, 
and that they would never obey an emperor until he had been ap- 
proved by the pope. This excited intense disgust, and in many 
places it could not be enforced. The teachings of Marsiglio and 
Ockham had at least borne fruit in so far that the papal preten- 
sions to virtually controlling the empire were disdainfully rejected. 
The German spirit thus aroused is well exemplified by what oc- 
curred at Basle, a city which had observed the interdict and was 
eager for its removal. When Charles and the Bishop of Bamberg 
appeared before the gates they were received by the magistrates 
and a great crowd of citizens. Conrad of Barenfels, the burgo- 
master, addressed the bishop : " My Lord of Bamberg, you must 
know that we do not believe, nor will we confess, that our late 
lord, the Emperor Louis, ever was a heretic. Whomsoever the 
electors or a majority of them shall choose as King of the Romans 
we will hold as such, whether he applies to the pope or not, nor 
will we do anything else that is contrary to the rights of the em- 
pire. But if you have power from the pope and are willing to re- 
mit all our sins, so be it." Then, turning to the people, he called 
out, " Do you give to me and to Conrad Miinch power to ask for 
the absolution of your sins ?" The crowd shouted assent ; the 
two Conrads took an oath in accordance with this ; divine services 
were resumed, and the king and bishop entered the town.f 

* Schmidt, Pabstliche Urkunden und Regesten, p. 362. — Henr. Rebdorff. 
Annal. ann. 1346-7 (Freher et Stniv. I. 626-8). 

f Henr. Rebdorff. Annal. ann. 1347 (Freher et Struv. I. 628).— Matthias Neu- 
burg. (Albert. Argentinens.) Chron. ann. 1348 (Urstisii II. 142-3). — Preger, Der 
Kirch enpolitische Karnpf, pp. 56-60. 


Yet the question as to the poverty of Christ, which had been 
put forward by John and Louis as the ostensible cause of quarrel, 
and which had been so warmly embraced by a portion at least of 
the German Franciscans, sank completely out of sight north of the 
Alps with the death of Louis and the extinction of the Munich 
colony of refugees. Germany had her own hordes of mendicants, 
regular and irregular, in the Beguines and Beghards, who seem 
to have troubled themselves but little about points so purely specu- 
lative ; and though we occasionally hear of Fraticelli in those 
regions, it is rather as a convenient name employed by monkish 
chroniclers than as really representing a distinctive sect. 

It was otherwise in the South, and especially in Italy, the 
native home of Franciscanism and of the peculiar influences which 
moulded the special ascetic development of the Order. There the 
impulses which had led the earlier Spirituals to endure the ex- 
tremity of persecution in vindication of the holiness of absolute 
poverty were still as strong as ever. Under Boniface and Clement 
and during the earlier years of John its professors had lain in 
hiding or had sought the friendly refuge of Sicily. In the con- 
fusion of the Franciscan schism they had emerged and multiplied. 
With the downfall of the antipope and the triumph of John they 
were once more proscribed. In the quarrel over the poverty of 
Christ, that tenet had naturally become the distinguishing mark 
of the sectaries, and its condemnation by John necessarily entailed 
the consequence of denying the papal authority and asserting the 
heresy of the Holy See. Yet there can be no doubt that among the 
austerer members of the orthodox Order who accepted the defini- 
tions of the papacy there was much sympathy felt for the rebellious 
dissidents. Resistance to the imperious will of John XXII. having 
failed, there were abundant stories of visions and miracles circu- 
lated from convent to convent, as to the wrath of God and of St. 
Francis visited upon those who infringed upon the holy vow of 
poverty. The Liber Conformitatum is manifestly the expression of 
the aspirations of those who wished to enforce the Rule in all its 
strictness as the direct revelation of the Holy Spirit. Such men 
felt that the position of their proscribed brethren was logically cor- 
rect, and they were unable to reconcile the decrees of Xicholas III. 
with those of John XXII. One of these, described as a man much 
beloved of God, applied to St. Birgitta to resolve his doubts, where- 


upon she had two visions in which the Virgin sent him her com- 
mands to say to all who believed that the pope was no pope, and 
that priests do not truly consecrate the host in the mass, that they 
were heretics filled with diabolical iniquity. All this points to a 
strong secret sympathy with the Fraticelli which extended not 
only among the people, but among the friars and occasionally 
even among the prelates, explaining the ability of the sectaries to 
maintain their existence from generation to generation in spite of 
almost unremitting persecution by the Inquisition.* 

In 1335, one of the earliest cares of Benedict XII. after his 
accession was the repression of these Fratres de paupere Vita, as 
they styled themselves. They still in many places publicly dis- 
played their contumacy by wearing the short and narrow gowns 
of the Spirituals. They still held Michele to be their general, in- 
sulted the memory of John XXII., and were earnestly and success- 
fully engaged in proselytism. Moreover, they were openly protect- 
ed by men of rank and power. All the inquisitors, from Treviso 
and Lombardy to Sicily, were commanded to free the Church from 
these impious hypocrites by vigorous action, and directions were 
sent to the prelates to lend efficient assistance. There were some, 
at least, of the latter who did not respond, for in 1336 Francesco, 
Bishop of Camerino, and Giacopo, Bishop of Firmo, were sum- 
moned to answer for favoring the sectaries and permitting them 
to live in their dioceses. The whole Order, in fact, was still in- 
fected with these dangerous doctrines, and could not be brought 
to view the dissidents with proper abhorrence. Benedict com- 
plained that in the kingdom of Naples many Franciscan convents 
gave shelter to these perverse brethren, and in a bull regulating 
the Order issued this same year he alludes to those among them 
who wear peculiar vestments and, under a pretended exterior of 
sanctity, maintain heresies condemned by the Church of Home; 
all such, together with those who protect them, are to be impris- 
oned until they submit. It was not always easy to enforce obedi- 
ence to these mandates. The Bishop of Camerino was stubborn, 
and the next year, 1337, Fra Giovanni di Borgo, the inquisitor of 

* Wadding, ann. 1330, No. 14-15.— Alvar. Pelag. de Planet. Eccles. Lib. 11. 
art. 51 (fol. 169 a).— Lib. Conformitatum Lib. 1. Fruct. ix. p. ii.— Revel. S. Brigit- 
t£e Lib. vii. c. 8. 


the Mark of Ancona, was instructed to proceed severely against 
him and other fautors of these heretics. By his active operations 
Fra Giovanni incurred the ill-will of the nobles of his district, who 
had sufficient influence with the general, Gerard Odo, to procure 
his replacement by his associate Giacomo and subsequently by Si- 
mone da Ancona, but the Cardinal Legate Bertrand intervened, 
and Benedict restored him with high encomiums on his efficiency. 
Although persecution was thus active, it is probable that few of 
the sectaries had the spirit of martyrdom, and that they recanted 
under pressure, but there was no hesitation in inflicting the full 
punishment of heresy on those who were persistent. June 3, 1337, 
at Venice, Fra Francesco da Pistoia was burned for pertinaciously 
asserting the poverty of Christ in contempt of the definitions of 
John XXII., nor was he the only victim.* 

The test of heresy, as I have said, was the assertion that Christ 
and the apostles held no property. This appears from the abjura- 
tion of Fra Francesco d ? Ascoli in 1344, who recants that belief 
and declares that in accordance with the bulls of John XXII. he 
holds it to be heretical. That such continued to be the customary 
formula appears from Eymerich, who instructs his inquisitor to 
make the penitent declare under oath, " I swear that I believe in 
my heart and profess that our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles 
while in this mortal life held in common the things which Scrip- 
ture declares them to have had, and that they had the right of 
giving, selling, and alienating theni." f 

The heresy was thus so purely an artificial one, created by the 
Holy See, that perhaps it is not difficult to understand the sym- 
pathy excited by these poor and self-denying ascetics, who bore all 
the external marks of what the Church had for ages taught to be 
exceeding holiness. Camerino continued to be a place of refuge. 
In 1343 Clement VI. ordered the Bishops of Ancona and Osimo to 
cite before him within three months Gentile, Lord of Camerino, 
for various offences, among which was protecting the Fraticelli, 
impeding the inquisitors in the prosecution of tbeir duties, and de- 

* Wadding, ann. 1335, No. 10-11: ami. 1336, No. 1; ann. 1337, No. 1; aim. 
1339. No. 1.— Raynald. aim. 1335, No. 63 ; ann. 1336, No. 63, 64, 66-7 ; ann. 1337, 
No. 30; ann. 1375, No. 64. — Comba, La Riforma in Italia, I. 328.— Vit. Prima 
Benedict! XII. ann. 1337 (Muratori S. R. I. III. n. 531). 

f D'Argentre I. i. 345. — Eymeric. p. 486. 


spising for several years the excommunication which they had 
pronounced against him. Even the inquisitors themselves, espe- 
cially in Franciscan districts, were not always earnest in the work, 
possibly because there was little prospect of profitable confiscations 
to be procured from those who regarded the possession of property 
as a sin, and in 1346 Clement found himself obliged to reprove them 
sharply for their tepidity. In such districts the Fraticelli showed 
themselves with little concealment. "When, in 1348, Cola di Eienzo 
fled from Rome after his first tribuneship, he betook himself to 
the Fraticelli of Monte Maiella ; he was charmed with their holi- 
ness and poverty, entered the Order as a Tertiary, and deplored 
that men so exemplary should be persecuted by the pope and the 
Inquisition. Tuscany was full of them. It was in vain that about 
this period Florence adopted severe laws for their repression, plac- 
ing them under the ban, empowering any one to capture them 
and deliver them to the Inquisition, and imposing a fine of five 
hundred lire on any official declining, when summoned by the in- 
quisitors, to assist in their arrest. The very necessity of enacting 
such laws shows how difficult it was to stimulate the people to 
join the persecution. Even this appears to have been ineffectual. 
There is extant a letter from Giovanni delle Celle of Vallombrosa 
to Tommaso di Neri, a Fraticello of Florence, in which the former 
attacks the fatuity of the latter in making an idol of poverty ; the 
letter was answered and led to a controversy which seems to have 
been conducted openly.* 

Yet, trivial as was apparently the point at issue, it was impos- 
sible that men could remain contentedly under the ban of the 
Church without being forced to adopt principles destructive of the 
whole ecclesiastical organization. They could only justify them- 
selves by holding that the}^ were the true Church, that the papacy 
was heretical and had forfeited its claim of obedience, and could 
no longer guide the faithful to salvation. It is an interest- 
ing proof of the state of public opinion in Italy, that in spite of 
the thoroughly organized machinery of persecution, men who held 
these doctrines were able to disseminate them almost publicly and 

* Werunsky Excerptt. ex Registt. Clem. PP. VI. pp. 23-4. — Raynald. ann. 
1346, No. 70— Comba, La Riforma, I. 326-7, 387.— Lami, Antichita Toscane, pp. 
528, 595. 

III.— 11 


to make numerous proselytes. About the middle of the century 
they circulated throughout Italy a document written in the ver- 
nacular, " so that it can be understood by every one," giving their 
reasons for separating themselves from pope and prelate. It is 
singularly temperate in tone and logical in structure. The argu- 
ment is drawn strictly from Scripture and from the utterances of 
the Church itself, and from even the standpoint of a canonist it is 
unanswerable. There are no apocalyptic hysterics, no looking for- 
ward to Antichrist or to new ages of the world, no mysticism. 
There is not even any reference to St. Francis, nor an}^ claim that 
his Kule is inspired and inviolable. Yet none the less the whole 
body of the Church is declared to be heretic, and all the faithful 
are summoned to cut loose from it. 

The reasons alleged for this are three — First, heresy ; second, 
simony ; third, fornication. As to the first, John XXII. is proved 
to be a heretic by the bulls pronouncing heretical the doctrine that 
Christ and the apostles possessed nothing. This is easily done by 
reason of the definitions of the previous popes confirmed by the 
Council of Yienne. The corollary of course follows that all his 
successors and their cardinals are heretics. As regards simony, 
the canons of the Decretum and the utterances of the doctors are 
quoted to show that it is heresy. As regards fornication, it was 
easy to cite the canons embodying the Hiidebrandine doctrine that 
the sacraments of fornicating priests are not to be received. It is 
true that there are many priests who are not fornicators, but there 
are none who are not simonists — who have not given or received 
money for the sacraments. Even if he could be found who is in- 
nocent on all these heads, it would be necessary for him to sepa- 
rate himself from the rest, for, as Raymond of Pennaf orte shows in 
his Summa, those are guilty of mortal sin and idolatry who receive 
the sacraments of heretics. The Fraticelli, therefore, have been 
obliged to withdraw from a heretical church, and they issue this 
manifesto to justify their course. If in any way it is erroneous, 
they ask to have the error pointed out ; and if it is correct, the 
faithful are bound to join them, because, after the facts are known., 
association with prelates and clergy thus heretical and excommuni- 
cate will involve in heresy all who are guilty of it.* 

» Comba, La Riforma, I. 568-71. 


All the Fraticelli, however, were not uniformly agreed upon all 
points. In the above document a leading argument is drawn from 
the assumed vitiation of the sacraments in polluted hands a dan- 
gerous tenet, constantly recurring to plague the successors of 
Hildebrand — which we do not find in other utterances of the sec- 
taries. In fact, we find them, in 1362, divided into two branches, 
one of which recognized as its leader Tommaso, ex-Bishop of 
Aquino, and held that as John XXII. and his successors were 
heretics, the sacrament of ordination derived from them was void, 
and reordination was required of all ecclesiastics entering the sect. 
The other, which took its name from Felipe of Majorca, was reg- 
ularly organized under a general minister, and, while equally re- 
garding the popes as heretics, recognized the ordinations of the 
establishment. All branches of the sect, however, drew ample 
store of reasons from the venality and corruption of the Church, 
which was doubtless their most convincing argument with the 
people. There is extant a letter in the vulgar tongue from a f rate 
to two female devotees, arguing, like the more formal manifesto, 
that they are bound to withdraw from the communion of the 
heretical church. This is the beast with seven horns, which are : 1, 
supreme pride ; 2, supreme cruelty ; .3, supreme folly or wrath ; 4, 
supreme deceit and inimitable falsehood ; 5, supreme carnality or 
lust ; 6, supreme cupidity or avarice ; 7, supreme hatred of truth, 
or malice. The ministers of this heretic church have no shame in 
publicly keeping concubines, and in selling Christ for money in the 
sacraments. This letter further indicates the legitimate descent 
of the Fraticelli from the Spirituals by a quotation from Joachim 
to show that St. Francis is Noah, and the faithful few of his chil- 
dren are those who are saved with him in the Ark.* 

A still closer connection may be inferred from a bull of Urban 
V., issued about 1365, instructing inquisitors to be active in exter- 
minating heretics, and describing for their information the differ- 
ent heresies. The Fraticelli are represented as indulging in glut- 
tony and lasciviousness under the cover of strict external sanctity, 
pretending to be Franciscan Tertiaries, and begging publicly or 
living in their own houses. It is possible, however, that his de- 

* Tocco, Archivio Storico Napoletano, 1887, Fasc. 1. — Comba, La Rifonna, T. 


scription of their holding assemblies in which they read Olivi's 
" Postil on the Apocalypse " and his other works, but chiefly the. ac- 
count of his death, is rather borrowed from Bernard Gui's account 
of the Spirituals of Languedoc, than a correct statement of the 
customs of the Fraticelli of his time." 

Of the final shape which the heresy assumed we have an au- 
thoritative account from its ruthless exterminator, the Inquisitor 
Giacomo della Marca. In his " Dialogue with a Fraticello," written 
about 1450, there is no word about the follies of the Spirituals, or 
any extraneous dogmas. The question turns wholly on the pov- 
erty of Christ and the heresy of John's definitions of the doctrine. 
The Fraticelli stigmatize the orthodox as Joannistae, and in turn 
are called Michaelistae, showing that by this time the extrava- 
gances of the Spirituals had been forgotten, and that the heretics 
were the direct descendants of the schismatic Franciscans who 
followed Michele da Cesena, The disorders and immorality of 
the clergy still afforded them their most effective arguments in 
their active missionary work. Giacomo complains that they 
abused the minds of the simple by representing the priests as 
simonists and concubinarians, and that the people, imbued with 
this poison, lost faith in the clergy, refused to confess to them, to 
attend their masses, to receive their sacraments, and to pay their 
tithes, thus becoming heretics and pagans and children of the 
devil, while fancying themselves children of God.t 

The Fraticelli thus formed one or more separate organizations, 
each of which asserted itself to be the only true Church. In the 
scanty information which we possess, it is impossible to trace in 
detail the history of the fragmentary parts into which they split, 
and we can only say in general terms that the sect did not consist 
simply of anchorites and friars, but had its regular clergy and 
laity, its bishops and their supreme head or pope, known as the 
Bishop of Philadelphia, that being the name assigned to the com- 
munity. In 1357 this position was filled by Tommaso, the ex- 
Bishop of Aquino ; chance led to the discovery of such a pope in 
Perugia in 1374 ; in 1429 we happen to know that a certain Eai- 
naldo filled the position, and shortly after a frate named Gabriel. 

* Martini Append, ad Mosheirn de Beghardis p. 505. 
t Jac. de Marchia Dial. (Baluz. et Mansi II. 595 sqq.). 


There is even talk of a chief of the laity who styled himself Em- 
peror of the Christians.* 

It was in vain that successive popes ordered the Inquisition to 
take the most active measures for the suppression of the sect, and 
that occasional holocausts rewarded their exertions, as when, under 
Urban V. nine were burned at Yiterbo, and in 1389 Fra Michele 
Berti de Calci suffered the same fate at Florence. This last case 
reveals in its details the popular sympathy which favored the 
labors of the Fraticelli. Fra Michele had been sent to Florence 
as a missionary by a congregation of the sect which met in a cav- 
ern in the Mark of Ancona. He preached in Florence and made 
many converts, and was about leaving the city, April 19, when 
he was betrayed by five female zealots, who sent for him pretend- 
ing to seek conversion. His trial was short. A colleague saved 
his life by recantation, but Michele was firm. When brought up 
in judgment to be degraded from the priesthood he refused to 
kneel before the bishop, saying that heretics are not to be knelt 
to. In walking to the place of execution many of the crowd ex- 
changed words of cheer with him, leading to considerable disturb- 
ance, and when tied to a stake in a sort of cabin which was to be 
set on fire, a number put their heads inside to beg him to recant. 
The place was several times filled with smoke to frighten him, 
but he was unyielding, and after his incremation there were many 
people, we are told, who regarded him as a saint, f 

Proceedings such as this were not likely to diminish the favor 
with which the Fraticelli were popularly regarded. The two Sici- 
lies continued to be thoroughly interpenetrated with the heresy. 
When, in 1362, Luigi di Durazzo made his abortive attempt at 
rebellion, he regarded the popularity of the Fraticelli as an ele- 

* Raynald. ann. 1344, No. 8; 1357, No. 12; 1374, No. 14.— Jac. de Marchia 
Dial. (I c. 599, 608-9). 

It may surprise a modern infallibilist to learn that so thoroughly orthodox 
and learned an inquisitor as the blessed Giacomo della Marca admits that there 
have been heretic popes — popes who persisted and died in their heresy. He 
comforts himself, however, with the reflection that they have always been suc- 
ceeded by Catholic pontiffs (1. c. p. 599). 

t Werunsky, Excerptt. ex Registt. Clem. VI. et Innoc. VI. p. 91. — Raynald. 
ann. 1354, No. 31; ann. 1368, No. 16.— Wadding, ann. 1354, No. 6-7; 1368, No. 
4-6.— Comba, La Riforma, I. 327, 329-37.— Cantu, Eretici d 1 Italia, I. 133-4.— 
Eymeric. p. 328. 


ment of sufficient importance for him to publicly proclaim sym- 
pathy with them, to collect them around him, and have Tommaso 
of Aquino celebrate mass for him. Francesco Marchisio, Arch- 
deacon of Salerno, was a Fraticello, in spite of which he was ele- 
vated to the see of Trivento in 1362, and occupied it till his death 
about twenty years later. In 1372 Gregory XI. was shocked to 
learn that in Sicily the bones of Fraticelli were venerated as the 
relics of saints, that chapels and churches were built in their honor, 
and that on their anniversaries the populace flocked thither with 
candles to worship them ; but it is not likely that his instructions 
to the inquisitors to put an end to these unseemly manifestations 
of mistaken piety were successful. At Perugia, in 1368, the mag- 
istrates were induced to throw many of the Fraticelli into prison, 
but to so little purpose that the people persisted in regarding them 
as the true children of St. Francis and in giving them shelter, while 
the Franciscans were despised on account of the laxity of their 
observance, the luxury of their houses, the costliness of their vest- 
ments, and the profusion of their table. They were ridiculed and 
insulted in the streets until they scarce dared to venture in public ; 
if one chanced to let the collar of his shirt show above his gown, 
some one would pull up the linen and ask the jeering crowd if this 
was the austerity of St. Francis. As a last resort, in 1374, they 
sent for Paoluccio of Foligno and a public disputation was arranged 
with the Fraticelli. Paoluccio turned the tide of popular favor 
by proving that obedience to the pope was of greater moment than 
obedience to the Eule, and the Fraticelli were driven from the 
town. Even then the Inquisition seems not to have dared to pros- 
ecute them.* 

The proselyting efforts of the Fraticelli were by no means con- 
fined to Italy. Believing themselves the only true Church, it was 
their duty to carry salvation throughout the world, and there were 

* Tocco, Archivio Storico Napoletano, 1887, Fasc. 1. — Raynald. ann. 1368, 
No. 16; ann. 1372, No. 36.— Wadding, ann. 1374, No. 19-23.— Pet. Rodulphii 
Hist. Seraph. Relig. Lib. n. fol. 154 a. 

Perugia at this period was a centre of religious excitement. A certain Piero 
Garigh, who seems to have been in some way connected with the Fraticelli, gave 
himself out as the Son of God, and dignified his disciples with the names of 
apostles. In the brief allusion which we have to him he is said to have obtained 
ten of these and to be in search of an eleventh. His fate is not recorded. — Pro- 
cessus contra Valdenses (Archivio Storico Italiano, 1865, No. 39, p. 50). 


earnest spirits among them who were ready to dare as much as 
the orthodox among the infidels and barbarians. Already, in 1344, 
Clement VI. found himself obliged go address the archbishops, bish- 
ops, and all the faithful throughout Armenia, Persia, and the East, 
warning them against these emissaries of Satan, who were seek- 
ing to scatter among them the seeds of error and schism. He had 
no inquisitors to call upon in those regions, but he ordered the prel- 
ates to inquire after them and to punish them, authorizing them, 
with a singular lack of perception, to invoke, if necessary, the aid 
of the secular arm. The Fraticelli made at least one convert of 
importance, for in 1346 Clement felt himself obliged to cite for 
appearance within four months no less a personage than the Arch- 
bishop of Seleucia, who, infected with pseudo-minorite errors, had 
written in Armenian and was circulating throughout Asia a postil 
on St. John in which he asserted the forbidden doctrine of the 
poverty of Christ. In 1354 Innocent VI. heard of Fraticellian 
missionaries laboring among the Chazars of the Crimea, and he 
forthwith ordered the Bishop of Caffa to repress them with inquis- 
itorial methods. In 1375 Gregory XI. learned that they were 
active in Egypt, Syria, and Asia, and he promptly ordered the 
Franciscan provincial of those regions to enforce on them the se- 
verity of the laws. One, named Lorenzo Carbonello, had ventured 
to Tunis, to infect with his heresy the Christians of that kingdom, 
whereupon Gregory commanded Giacomo Patani and Guillen de 
Ripoll, the captains of the Christian troops in the service of the 
Bey of Tunis, to seize him and send him in chains to the Arch- 
bishop of Naples or of Pisa. Doubtless, if the command was 
obeyed, it led the unthinking Moslem to thank Allah that they 
were not Christians.* 

In Languedoc and Provence the rigorous severity with which 
the Spirituals had been exterminated seems to have exercised a 
wholesome influence in repressing the Fraticelli, but nevertheless 
a few cases on record shows the existence of the sect. In 1336 we 
hear of a number confined in the papal dungeons of Avignon — 
among them a papal chaplain — and that Guillaume Lombard, the 
judge of ecclesiastical causes, was ordered to exert against them 

* Raynald. aim. 1344, No. 8 ; ann. 1346, No. 70 ; ann. 1354, No. 31 ; ann. 1375, 

No. 27. 


the full severity of the lavs. In 1354 two Tuscan Fraticelli, Gio- 
vanni da Castigiione and Francesco d' Arquata. were arrested at 
Montpellier for holding that John XXII. had forfeited his author- 
ity by altering the definitions of the bull Exiit, and that his suc- 
cessors were not the true Church. Innocent VI. caused them 
to be brought before him, but all efforts to make them recant 
were vain ; they went tranquilly to the stake, singing Gloria in 
excelsis, and were reverenced as martyrs by a large number of 
their brethren. Two others, named Jean de Xarbonne and Mau- 
rice had not long before met the same fate at Avignon. In north- 
ern France we hear little of the heresy. The only recorded case 
seems to be that of Denis Soulechat. a professor of the University 
of Paris, who taught in 1363 that the law of divine love does away 
with property, and that Christ and the apostles held none. Sum- 
moned by the Inquisitor Guillaume Eochin, he abjured before the 
Faculty and then appealed to the pope. At Avignon, when he 
endeavored to purge himself before an assembly of theologians, 
he only added new errors to his old ones, and was sent back to 
the Cardinal of Beauvais and the Sorbonne with orders to make 
him recant, and to punish him properly with the advice of the 
inquisitor. In 136S he was forced to a public abjuration.* 

In Spam a few cases show that the heresy extended across 
the Pyrenees. In Valencia, Fray Jayme Justi and the Tertianes 
Guillermo Gelabert and Marti Petri, when arrested by E. de 
Masqueta. commissioner of the Inquisitor Leonardo de Puycerda, 
appealed to Clement VI., who ordered the Bishop of Valencia to 
release them on their giving bail not to leave the city until their 
case should be decided at Avignon. They must have had wealthy 
disciples, for security was furnished in the heavy sum of thirty 
thousand sols, and they were discharged from prison. The papal 
court was in no hurry with the case — probably it was forgotten — 
when, in 1353, Clement learned that the two Tertiaries were dead, 
and that Justi was in the habit of leaving the city and spreading 
his pestiferous doctrines among the people. He therefore ordered 

* Raynald. aim. 1336, Xo. 64; ann. 1351. Xo. 31; aim. 1368, Xo. 16-7.— Ar- 
chives de rinq. de Carcass. (Doat, XXXV. 130). — Mosheiins Ketz'-rgeschichte L 
387. — Henr. Rebdorff Annal. ann. 1353 (Freher et Stray. I. 632).— Eymeric. 
p. 358.— D'Argentrg, I. i. 383-6. 


Hugo, Bishop of Valencia, and the Inquisitor Nicolas Roselli to 
prosecute the case forthAvith. Justi must have recanted, for he 
was merely imprisoned for life, while the bones of the two Terti- 
aries were dug up and burned. Even more obdurate was Fray 
Arnaldo Mutaner, who for nineteen years infected Puycerda and 
Urgel with the same heresy. He was contumacious and refused 
to appear when summoned to abjure. After consultation with 
Gregory XL, Berenger Darili, Bishop of Urgel, condemned him, 
and so did Eymerich. Pursuit apparently grew hot, and he fled 
to the East. The last we hear of him is in 1373, when Gregory 
ordered his vicar, the Franciscan Arnaud, to seize him and send 
him in chains to the papal court, but whether the effort was 
successful we have no means of knowing. A bull of Martin 
Y. in 1426 shows the continued existence of Fraticelli in Ara- 
gon and Catalonia, and the necessity of active measures for their 

It was probably a heresy of the same nature which, in 1442, 
was discovered in Durango, Biscay. The heresiarch was the Fran- 
ciscan Alonso de Mella, brother of Juan, Cardinal-bishop of Za- 
mora, and the sectaries were known as Cerceras. The story that 
Alonso taught indiscriminate sexual intercourse is doubtless one 
of the customary exaggerations. King Juan II., in the absence 
of the Inquisition, sent the Franciscan, Francisco de Soria, and 
Juan Alonso Cherino, Abbot of Alcala la Real, to investigate the 
matter, with two alguazils and a sufficient force. The heretics 
were seized and carried, some to Valladolid and some to Santo 
Domingo de la Calcada, where torture was used to extract con- 
fession, and the obstinate ones were burned in considerable num- 
bers. Fray Alonso de Mella, however, managed to escape and 
fled to Granada, it is said, with some of his girls ; but he did not 
avert his fate, for he was acanavereado by the Moors — that is, put 
to a lingering death with pointed sticks. The affair must have 
made a profound impression on the popular mind, for even until 
modern times the people of Durango were reproached by their 
neighbors with the " autos de Fray Alonso" and in 1828 an over- 
zealous alcalde, to obliterate all record of the matter, burned the 

* Ripoll II. 245.— Eymeric. pp. 266-7.— Raynald. aim. 1373, No. 19; ami. 1426, 
No. 18.— Wadding, ann. 1371, No. 26-30. 


original documents of the process, which till then had reposed 
quietly among the records of the parish church.* 

The violent measures of John XXII., followed up by his suc- 
cessors, for a while effectually repressed the spiritual asceticism 
of the Franciscans. Yet it was impossible that impulses which 
were so marked a characteristic of the age should be wholly oblit- 
erated in an Order in which they had become traditional. AVe 
see this in the kindness manifested by the Franciscans to the Fra- 
ticelli when it could be done without too much risk, and we cannot 
doubt that there were many who aspired to imitate the founder 
without daring to overleap the bounds of obedience. Such men 
could not but look with alarm and disgust at the growing world- 
liness of the Order under the new dispensation of John. ^Vhen 
the Provincial of Tuscany could lav aside five hundred florins out 
of the alms given to his brethren, and then lend this sum to the 
Hospital of S. Maria of Siena at ten per cent, per annum, although 
so flagrant a violation of his vows and of the canons against usurv 
brought upon him the penalty of degradation, it required a divine 
visitation to impress his sin upon the minds of his fellows, and he 
died in 1373 in great agony and without the sacraments. Various 
other manfestations about the same time indicate the magnitude 
of the evil and the impossibility of suppressing it by human means. 
Under Boniface IX., Franciscans, we are told, were in the habit 
of seeking dispensations to enable them to hold benefices and even 
pluralities ; and the pope decreed that any Mendicant desiring to 
be transferred to a non-Mendicant Order should, as a preliminary, 
pay a hundred gold florins to the papal camera. Under such a 
system there could be scarce a pretence of maintaining the holy 
poverty which had been the ideal of Francis and his followers. t 

Yet the ardent thirst of poverty and the belief that in it lay 
the only assured path to salvation were too widely diffused to 
be repressed. Giovanni Colombini, a rich and ambitious citizen 

* Garibay, Comp. Historial de Espana, Lib. xyi. c. 31. — La Puente, Epit. de 
la Cronica de Juan II., Lib. rv. c. i. — Pelayo, Heterodoxos Espafioles, I. 546-7. — 
Mariana, Lib. xxi. c. 18. — Rodrigo, Inquisicion, II. 11-12. — Paramo, p. 131. 

t Wadding, ann. 1383, No. 2. — Gobelins Persons Cosinodrom. Mt. v. c. 84 
(Meibom. Rer. German. I. 317). 


of Siena had his thoughts accidentally directed to heaven. His 
career strikingly resembles that of Peter Waldo, save that the 
Church, grown wiser, utilized his zeal instead of antagonizing him. 
The Order of Jesuats which he founded was approved by Urban Y. 
in 1367. It was an order of lay brethren under the Augustinian 
Rule, vowed to poverty and devoted to the care of the sick, not 
unlike that of the Cellites or Alexians of the Rhinelands.* 

It was inevitable that there should be dissatisfaction among 
the more ascetic Franciscans, and that the more zealous of these 
should seek some remedy short of heresy. In 1350 Gentile of 
Spoleto obtained from Clement YI. authorization for some houses 
of stricter observance. Immediately the experience of Angelo 
and Liberato was repeated. The wrath of the Conventuals was 
excited. The innovators were accused of adopting the short and 
narrow gowns which had been the distinguishing mark of the 
dreaded Olivists. In the General Chapter of 1353, the General 
Farignano was urged to exterminate them by the measures which 
had proved so effective in Languedoc. To this he did not assent, 
but he set spies to work to obtain evidence against them, and soon 
was able to accuse them of receiving Fraticelli. They admitted 
the fact, but argued that this had been in the hope of converting 
the heretics, and when they proved obstinate they had been ex- 
pelled — but they had not been reported to the Inquisition as duty 
required. Armed with this, Farignano represented to Innocent YI. 
the grave dangers of the innovation, and obtained a revocation of 
the papal authorization. The brethren were dispersed, Gentile 
and two companions were thrown into prison at Orvieto ; his co- 
adjutor, Fra Marti no, a most exemplary man, who shone in mira- 
cles after death, died the next year, and the rest were reduced to 
obedience. After prolonged captivity Gentile was released, and 
died in 1362, w T orn out with fruitless labors to restore the disci- 
pline of the Order.f 

More fortunate was his disciple, Paoluccio da Trinci, of Foligno, 
a simple and unlearned friar, who had obtained from his kinsman, 

* Baluz. et Mansi IV. 566 sqq. In 1606 Paul V. allowed the Jesuats to take 

f Wadding, ann. 1350, No. 15 ; ann. 1354, No. 1, 2; ann. 1362, No. 4.— Chron. 
Glassberger ann. 1352, 1354, 1355. 


Ugolino, Lord of Foligno, a dungeon in which to gratify his thirst 
for asceticism. Though he had permission for this from his su- 
periors, he suffered much from the hostility of the laxer brethren, 
but his austerities gained him great popular reverence and many 
disciples. In 136S the General Farignano chanced to attend a pro- 
vincial chapter at Foligno, and was persuaded to ask of Ugolino 
a spot called Brulliano, in the mountains between Foligno and 
Camerino, as a hermitage for Paoluccio and his followers. After 
his request was granted he dreaded a schism in the Order and 
wished to recall it, but Ugolino held him to his purpose. The 
place was wild, rocky, marshy, unwholesome, infested with ser- 
pents, and almost uninhabited. Thither Paoluccio led his brethren, 
and they were forced to adopt the sabots or wooden shoes, which 
became the distinguishing foot-gear of their Order. Their repu- 
tation spread apace ; converts flocked to them ; their buildings 
required enlargement ; associate houses were founded in many 
places, and thus arose the Observantines, or Franciscans of strict 
observance — an event in the history of the Church only second in 
importance to the original foundation of the Mendicant Orders.* 

"When Paoluccio died, in 1390, he was already reckoned as a 
provincial within the Order. After an interval he was succeeded 
by his coadjutor, Giovanni Stronconi. In 1405 began the marvel- 
lous career of St. Bernardino of Siena, who counts as the formal 
founder of the Observantines. They had merely been called the 
Brethren of the Hermitages until the Council of Constance estab- 
lished them as an organization virtually independent of the Con- 
ventuals, when they took the name by which they have since been 
known. Everywhere their institution spread. Xew houses arose, 
or those of the Conventuals were reformed and given over to 
them. Thus in 1426 they were introduced into the province of 
Strassburg through the intervention of Matilda of Savoy, wife of 
the Palsgrave Louis the Bearded. Familiar in her youth with 
their virtues, she took occasion at Heidelberg to point out to her 
husband the Franciscans in their convent garden below them, 
amusing themselves with military exercises. It resulted in the 
reform of all the houses in his dominions and the introduction of 
the Observantine discipline, not without serious trouble. In 1453 

* Wadding, ann. 1368, No. 10-13. 


Nicholas of Cusa, as legate, forced all the houses in the diocese of 
Bamberg to adopt the Observantine discipline, under threat of 
forfeiting their privileges. In 1431 the holy house on Mt. Al- 
verno, the Franciscan Mecca, was made over to them, and in 1434 
the guardianship of the Holy Places in Jerusalem. In 1460 we 
hear of their penetrating to distant Ireland. It is not to be sup- 
posed that the Conventuals submitted quietly to the encroach- 
ments and triumphs of the hated ascetics whom for a century and 
a half they had successfully baffled and persecuted. Quarrels, 
sharper and bitterer even than those with the Dominicans, were 
of constant occurrence, and were beyond the power of the popes 
to allay. A promising effort at reunion attempted by Capistrano 
in 1430, under the auspices of Martin V., was defeated by the in- 
curable laxity of the Conventuals, and there was nothing left for 
both sides but to continue the war. In 1435 the strife rose to 
such a pitch in France that Charles YIL was obliged to appeal 
to the Council of Basle, which responded with a decree in favor 
of the Observantines. The struggle was hopeless. The corrup- 
tion of the Conventuals was so universally recognized that even 
Pius II. does not hesitate to say that, though they generally excel 
as theologians, virtue is the last thing about which most of them 
concern themselves. In contrast with this the holiness of the new 
organization won for it the veneration of the people, while the un- 
flagging zeal with which it served the Holy See secured for it the 
favor of the popes precisely as the Mendicant Orders had done in 
the thirteenth century. At first merely a branch of the Francis- 
cans, then placed under a virtually independent vicar-general, at 
length Leo X., after vainly striving to heal the differences, gave 
the Observantines a general minister and reduced the Conventuals 
to a subordinate position under a general master.* 

* Wadding, ann. 1375, No. 44; aim. 1390, No. 1-10; ami. 1403, No. 1 ; ann. 
1405, No. 3 ; ann. 1415, No. 6-7; ann. 1431, No. 8; ann. 1434, No. 7; ann. 1435, 
No. 12-13; ann. 1453, No. 18-26; ann. 1454, No. 22-3 ; ann. 1455, No. 43-7 ; ann. 
1456, No. 129; ann. 1498, No. 7-8 ; ann. 1499, No. 18-20. — Chron. Glassberger 
ann. 1426, 1430, 1501, 1517.— Theiner Monument. Hibern. et Scotor. No. 801, p. 
425, No. 844, p. 460. — ^En. Sylvii Opp. inedd. (Atti della Accadeinia dei Lincei. 
1883, p. 546). — Chron. Anon. (Analecta Franciscana I. 291-2). 

The bitterness of the strife between the two branches of the Order is illus- 
trated by the fact that the Franciscan Church of Palma, in Majorca, when struck 


A religious revival such as this brought into service a class of 
men who were worthy representatives of the Peter Martyrs and 
Guillem Arnauds of the early Inquisition. Under their ruthless 
energy the Fraticelli were doomed to extinction. The troubles 
of the Great Schism had allowed the heretics to flourish almost 
unnoticed and unmolested, but after the Church had healed its 
dissensions at Constance and had entered upon a new and vigor- 
ous life, it set to work in earnest to eradicate them. Hardly had 
Martin Y. returned to Italy from Constance when he issued from 
Mantua, November 14, 1418, a bull in which he deplores the in- 
crease of the abominable sect in many parts, and especially in the 
Roman province. Fortified with the protection of the temporal 
lords, they abuse and threaten the bishops and inquisitors who at- 
tempt to repress them. The bishops and inquisitors are there- 
fore instructed to proceed against them vigorously, without re- 
gard to limits of jurisdiction, and to prosecute their protectors, 
even if the latter are of episcopal or regal dignity, which suffi- 
ciently indicates that the Fraticelli had found favor with those of 
highest rank in both Church and State. This accomplished little, 
for in a subsequent bull of 1421 Martin alludes to the continued 
increase of the heresy, and tries the expedient of appointing the 

by lightning and partially ruined in 1480, remained on this account unrepaired 
for nearly a hundred years, until the Observantines got the better of their rivals 
and obtained possession of it. — Dameto, Pro y Bover, Hist, de Mallorca, II. 1064-5 
(Palma, 1841). It is related that when Sixtus IV., who had been a Conventual, 
proposed in 1477 to subject the Observantines to their rivals, the blessed Gia- 
como della Marca threatened him with an evil death, and he desisted. — (Chron. 
Glassberger ann. 1477). 

The exceeding laxity prevailing among the Conventuals is indicated by let- 
ters granted in 1421 by the Franciscan general, Antonius dc Perreto, to Friar 
Liebhardt Forschammer, permitting him to deposit with a faithful friend all 
alms given to him, and to expend them on his own wants or for the benefit of 
the Order, at his discretion ; he was also required to confess only four times a 
year. — (Chron. Glassberger ann. 1416). The General Chapter held at Forli in 
1421 was obliged to prohibit the brethren from trading and lending money on 
usury, under pain of imprisonment and confiscation. — (lb. ann. 1421). From the 
Chapter of Ueberlingen, held in 1426. we learn that there was a custom by which, 
for a sum of money paid down, Franciscan convents would enter into obligations 
to pay definite stipends to individual friars. — (lb. ann. 1426). In fact, the efforts 
of reform at this period, stimulated by the rivalry of the Observantines, reveal 
how utterly oblivious the Order had become of all the prescriptions of the Rule. 


Cardinals of Albano and Porto as special commissioners for its 
suppression. The cardinals proved as inefficient as their prede- 
cessors. In 1423 the General Council of Siena was greatly scan- 
dalized at finding that at Peniscola there was a heretic pope with 
his college of cardinals, apparently flourishing without an attempt 
at concealment, and the Gallican nation made several ineffectual 
efforts to induce the council to take active measures against the 
secular authorities under whose favor these scandals were allowed 
to exist. How utterly the machinery of persecution had broken 
down is illustrated by the case of three Fraticelli who had at this 
period been detected in Florence — Bartolommeo di Matteo, Gio- 
vanni di Marino of Lucca, and Bartolommeo di Pietro of Pisa. 
Evidently distrusting the Florentine Inquisition, which was Fran- 
ciscan, Martin V. specially intrusted the matter to his legates then 
presiding over the Council of Siena. On the sudden dissolution 
of the council the legates returned to Eome, except the Dominican 
General, Leonardo of Florence, who went to Florence. To him, 
therefore, Martin wrote, April 24, 1424, empowering him to ter- 
minate the case himself, and expressly forbidding the Inquisitor 
of Florence from taking any part in it. In September of the 
same year Martin instructed Piero, Abbot of Kosacio, his rector of 
the Mark of Ancona, to extirpate the Fraticelli existing there, and 
the difficulty of the undertaking was recognized in the unwonted 
clemency which authorized Piero to reconcile even those who had 
been guilty of repeated relapses.* 

Some new motive force was evidently required. There were 
laws in abundance for the extermination of heresy, and an elabo- 
rate organization for their enforcement, but a paralysis seemed to 
have fallen upon it, and all the efforts of the Holy See to make it 
do its duty was in vain. The problem was solved when, in 1426, 
Martin boldly overslaughed the Inquisition and appointed two 
Gbservantines as inquisitors, without limitation of districts and 
with power to appoint deputies, thus rendering them supreme over 
the whole of Italy. These were the men whom we have so often 
met before where heresy was to be combated — San Giovanni cla 

* Raynald. ann. 1418, No. 11 ; ami. 1421, No. 4 ; ann. 1424, No. 7.— Jo. de Ra- 
gusio de Init. Basil. Concil. (Mon. Cone. Gen. Stec. XV. T. I. pp. 30-1, 40, 55).— 
Ripoll II. 645. 


Capistrano, and the blessed Giacomo da Monteprandone, gener- 
ally known as della Marca — both full of zeal and energy, who richly 
earned their respective canonization and beatification by lifelong 
devotion and by services which can scarce be overestimated. It 
is true that Giacomo was commissioned only as a missionary, to 
preach to the heretics and reconcile them, but the difference was 
practically undiscoverable, and when, a quarter of a century later, 
he fondly looked back over the exploits of his youth, he related 
with pride how the heretics fled from before his face, abandoned 
their strongholds, and left their flocks to his mercy. Their head- 
quarters seem to have been in the Mark of Ancona, and chiefly 
in the dioceses of Fabriano and Jesi. There the new inquisitors 
boldly attacked them. There was no resistance. Such of the 
teachers as could do so sought safety in flight, and the fate of the 
rest may be guessed from the instructions of Martin in 1128 to 
Astorgio, Bishop of Ancona, his lieutenant in the Mark, with re- 
spect to the village of Magnalata. As it hacl been a receptacle of 
heretics, it is to be levelled with the earth, never to be rebuilt. 
Stubborn heretics are to be dealt with according to the law — that 
is, of course, to be burned, as Giacomo della Marca tells us was the 
case with many of them. Those who repent may be reconciled, 
but their leaders are to be imprisoned for life, and are to be tort- 
ured, if necessary, to force them to reveal the names of their fel- 
lows elsewhere. The simple folk who have been misled are to be 
scattered around in the vicinage where they can cultivate their 
lands, and are to be recompensed by dividing among them the 
property confiscated from the rest. The children of heretic parents 
are to be taken away and sent to a distance, where they can be 
brought up in the faith. Heretic books are to be diligently 
searched for throughout the province ; and all magistrates and 
communities are to be warned that any favor or protection shown 
to heretics will be visited with forfeiture of municipal rights." 

Such measures ought to have been effective, as well as the de- 
vice of Capistrano, who, after driving the Fraticelli out of Massacio 
and Palestrina, founded Observantine houses there to serve as 
citadels of the faith, but the heretics were stubborn and enduring. 

* Wadding, ann. 1426, No. 1-4. — Raynald. arm. 1428, No. 7.— Jac. tie Marchia 
Dial. (Baluz. et Mansi II. 597, 609). 


"When Eugenius IV. succeeded to the papacy he renewed Capis- 
trano's commission in 1432 as a general inquisitor against the 
Fraticelli. We have no details of his activity during this period, 
but he was doubtless busily employed, though he was deprived of 
the assistance of Giacomo, who until 1440 was, as we have seen, at 
work among the Cathari of Bosnia and the Hussites of Hungary. 
The Fraticelli of Ancona were still troublesome, for, on his return 
from Asia in 1441, Giacomo was sent thither as special inquis- 
itor for their suppression. When, in 1447, Nicholas V. ascended 
the papal throne, he made haste to renew Capistrano's commis- 
sion, and in 1449 a combined attack was made on the heretics of 
the Mark, possibly stimulated by the capture, in his own court, of 
a bishop of the Fraticelli named Matteo, disguised in a Franciscan 
habit. Nicholas himself went to Fabriano, while Capistrano and 
Giacomo scoured the country. Magnalata had been rebuilt in 
spite of the prohibition, and it, with Migliorotta, Poggio, and 
Merulo, was brought back to the faith, by what means we can 
well guess. Giacomo boasts that the heretics gave five hundred 
ducats to a bravo to slay Capistrano, and on one occasion two hun- 
dred and on another one hundred and fifty to procure his own 
death, but the assassins in each case were touched with compunc- 
tion and came in and made confession — doubtless a profitable 
revelation for sharpers to make, for no one acquainted with Italian 
society at that period can imagine that such sums would not have 
effected their object. The inquisitors, however, were specially 
protected by Heaven. Capistrano's legend relates that on one 
occasion the heretics waited for him in ambush. His companions 
passed in safety, and when he followed alone, absorbed in medita- 
tion and prayer, a sudden whirlwind, with torrents of rain, kept 
his assailants in their lair, and he escaped. Giacomo was similarly 
divinely guarded. At Matelica a heretic concealed himself in a 
chapel of the Virgin to assail the inquisitor as he passed, but the 
Virgin appeared to him with threats so terrible that he fell to the 
ground and lay there till the neighbors carried him to a hospital, 
and it was three months before he was able to seek Giacomo at 
Fermo and abjure.* 

* Wadding, ann. 1426, No. 15-16 ; Regest. Mart. V. No. 162 ; ann. 1432, No. 
8-9; ann. 1441, No. 37-8; ann. 1447, No. 10; ann. 1456, No. 108; ann. 1470, 
' III.— 12 


The unlucky captives were brought before Nicholas at Fabri- 
ano and burned. Giacomo tells us that the stench lasted for three 
days and extended as far as the convent in which he was staying. 
He exerted himself to save the souls of those whose bodies were 
forfeit by reason of relapse, and succeeded in all cases but one. 
This hardened heretic was the treasurer of the sect, named Chiuso. 
He refused to recant, and would not call upon God or the Virgin 
or the saints for aid, but simply said " Fire will not burn me." 
His endurance was tested to the utmost. For three days he was 
burned piecemeal at intervals, but his resolution never gave way, 
and at last he expired impenitent, in spite of the kindly efforts to 
torture him to heaven.* 

After this Ave hear little of the Fraticelli, although the sect 
still continued to exist for a while in secret. In 1467 Paul II. con- 
verted a number of them who were brought from Poli to Rome. 
Eight men and six women, with paper mitres on their heads, were 
exposed to the jeers of the populace on a high scaffold at the Ara- 
cceli, while the papal vicar and five bishops preached for their 
conversion. Their penance consisted in imprisonment in the Cam- 
pidoglio, and in wearing a long robe bearing a white cross on 
breast and back. It was probably on this occasion that Rodrigo 
Sanchez, a favorite of Paul's, and subsequently Bishop of Palencia, 
wrote a treatise on the poverty of Christ, in which he proved that 
ecclesiastics led apostolic lives in the midst of their possessions. 
In 1471 Fra Tommaso di Scarlino was sent to Piombino and the 
maritime parts of Tuscany to drive out some Fraticelli who had 
been discovered there. This is the last allusion to them that I have 
met with, and thereafter they may be considered as virtually ex- 
tinct. That they soon passed completely out of notice may be 
inferred from the fact that in 1487, when the Spanish Inquisition 
persecuted some Observantines, Innocent VIII. issued a general 
order that any Franciscans imprisoned by Dominican inquisitors 
should be handed over for trial to their own superiors, and that no 
such prosecutions should be thereafter undertaken.f 

No. 24-5. — Raynald. ann. 1432, No. 24. — Jac. de Marchia Dial. (Baluz. et Mansi 
II. 610). 

* Jac. de Marchia 1. c. 

t Steph. Infessurae Diar. Urb. Rom. ann. 1467 (Eccard. Corp. Hist. II. 1803).— 


The Observantine movement may be credited with the destruc- 
tion of the Fraticelli, not so much by furnishing the men and the 
zeal required for their violent suppression as by supplying an or- 
ganization in which ascetic longings could be safely gratified, and 
by attracting to themselves the popular veneration which had so 
long served as a safeguard to the heretics. When we read of 
Capistrano's reputation among his countrymen — how in Yicenza, 
in 1451, the authorities had to shut the city gates to keep out the 
influx of surging crowds, and when he walked the streets he had 
to be accompanied by a guard of Frati to keep off the people seek- 
ing to touch him with sticks or to secure a fragment of his gar- 
ment as a relic ; how in Florence, in 1456, an armed guard was 
requisite to prevent his suffocation — we can realize the tremendous 
influence exercised by him and his fellows in diverting the current 
of public opinion to the Church which they represented. Like the 
Mendicants of the thirteenth century, they restored to it much of 
the reverence which it had forfeited, in spite of the relaxation and 
self-indulgence to which, if Poggio is to be believed, many of them 
speedily degenerated.* 

'Not less effective was the refuge which the Observantines af- 
forded to those whose morbid tendencies led them to seek super- 
human austerity. The Church having at last recognized the ne- 
cessity of furnishing an outlet for these tendencies, as the old 
Fraticelli died or were burned there were none to take their place, 
and the sect disappears from view without leaving a trace behind 
it. Ascetic zeal must indeed have been intense when it could not 
be satiated by such a life as that of Lorenzo da Fermo, who died 
in 1481 at the age of one hundred and ten, after passing ninety 
years with the Observantines. For forty of these years he lived 
on Mont Alverno, wearing neither cowl nor sandals — bareheaded 
and barefooted in the severest weather, and with the thinnest gar- 
ments. If there were natures which craved more than this, the 
Church had learned either to utilize or to control them. Thus was 
organized the Order of the Strict Observance, better known as the 

Platinse Vit. Pauli II. (Ed. 1574, p. 308).— Rod. Santii Hist. Hispan. P. in. c. 40 
(R. Beli Rer. Hisp. Scriptt. I. 433).— Wadding, aim. 1371, No. 14.^-Ripoll IV. 22. 
* Barbarano de' Mironi, Hist, di Vicenza, II. 164-5.— Poggii Bracciol. Dial, 
contra Hypocrisim. 


Recollects. The Conde de Sotomayor, of the noblest blood of 
Spain, had entered the Franciscan Order, and, becoming dissatisfied 
with its laxity, obtained from Innocent VIII., in 1487, authority 
to found a reformed branch, which he established in the wilds of 
the Sierra Morena. In spite of the angry opposition of both Con- 
ventuals and Observantines, it proved successful and spread per- 
manently through France and Italy. An irregular and unfortu- 
nate effort in the same direction was made not long after by 
Matteo da Tivoli, a Franciscan whose thirst for supreme asceticism 
had led him to adopt the life of a hermit, with about eighty fol- 
lowers, in the Roman province. They threw off all obedience to 
the Order, under the influence of Satan, who appeared to Matteo 
in the guise of Christ. He was seized and imprisoned, and com- 
menced to doubt the reality of his mission, when another vision 
confirmed him. He succeeded in escaping with a comrade, and 
lived in caves among the mountains with numerous disciples, 
illuminated by God and gifted with miraculous power. He organ- 
ized his followers into an independent Order, with general, provin- 
cials, and guardians, but the Church succeeded in breaking it up 
in 1495, Matteo finally returning to the Conventuals, while most 
of his disciples entered the Observantines. - 

In reviewing this history of the morbid aberrations of lofty 
impulses, it is impossible not to recognize how much the Church 
lost in vitality, and how much causeless suffering was inflicted by 
the theological arrogance and obstinate perversity of John XXII. 
With tact and discretion the zeal of the Fraticelli could have been 
utilized, as was subsequently that of the Observantines. The 
ceaseless quarrels of the Conventuals with the latter explain the 
persecutions endured by the Spirituals and the Fraticelli. Paoluc- 
cio was fortunate in finding men high in station who were wise 
enough to protect his infant organization until it had demonstrated 
its usefulness and was able to defend itself, but there never was 
a time, even when it was the most useful weapon in the hands of 
the Holy See, when the Conventuals would not, had they been 
able, have treated it as inhumanly as they had treated the follow- 
ers of Angelo and Olivi and Michele da Cesena. 

* Wadding, ann. 1481, No. 9 ; ami. 1487, No. 3-5 ; aim. 1495, No. 12.— Addis 
and Arnold's Catholic Dictionary, s. v. Recollects. 



The identification of the cause of the Church with that of 
God was no new thing. Long before the formulation of laws 
against heresy and the organization of the Inquisition for its sup- 
pression, the advantage had been recognized of denouncing as her- 
etics all who refused obedience to the demands of prelate and pope. 
In the quarrel between the empire and papacy over the question 
of the investitures, the Council of Lateran, in 1102, required all 
the bishops in attendance to subscribe a declaration anathematizing 
the new heresy of disregarding the papal anathema, and though 
the Church as yet was by no means determined on the death-pen- 
alty for ordinary heresy, it had no hesitation as to the punishment 
due to the imperialists who maintained the traditional rights of 
the empire against its new pretensions. In that same year the 
monk Sigebert, who was by no means a follower of the antipope 
Alberto, was scandalized at the savage cruelty of Paschal II. in 
exhorting his adherents to the slaughter of all the subjects of 
Henry IY. Robert the Hierosolymitan of Flanders, on his re- 
turn from the first crusade, had taken up arms against Henry IY. 
and had signalized his devotion by depopulating the Cambresis, 
whereupon Paschal wrote to him with enthusiastic praises of this 
good work, urging him to continue it as quite as pious as his labors 
to recover the Holy Sepulchre, and promising remission of sins to 
him and to all his ruthless soldiery. Paschal himself became a 
heretic when, in 1111, yielding to the violence of Henry Y., he con- 
ceded the imperial right of investiture of bishops and abbots, al- 
though when Bruno, Bishop of Segni and Abbot of Monte Casino, 
boldly proved his heresy to his face, he deprived the audacious 
reasoner of the abbacy and sent him back to his see. In his set- 
tlement with Henry, he had broken a consecrated host, each tak- 


ing half, and had solemnly said, " Even as this body of Christ is 
divided, so let him be divided from the kingdom of Christ who 
shall attempt to violate our compact ;" but the stigma of heresy 
was unendurable, and in 1112 he presided over the Council of 
Lateran, which pronounced void his oath and his bulls. AVhen 
Henry complained that he had violated his oath, he coolly replied 
that he had promised not to excommunicate Henry, but not that 
he should not be excommunicated by others. If Paschal was not 
forced literally to abjure his heresy he did so constructively, and 
the principle was established that even a pope could not abandon 
a claim of which the denial had been pronounced heretical. When, 
not long afterwards, the German prelates were required at their 
consecration to abjure ail heresy, and especially the Henrician, the 
allusion was not to the errors of Henry of Lausanne, but to those 
of the emperor who had sought to limit the encroachments of the 
Holy See on the temporal power.* 

As heresy, rightly so called, waxed and grew more and more 
threatening, and the struggle for its suppression increased in bit- 
terness and took an organized shape under a formidable body of 
legislation, and as the application of the theory of indulgences gave 
to the Church an armed militia ready for mobilization without 
cost whenever it chose to proclaim danger to the faith, the tempta- 
tion to invoke the fanaticism of Christendom for the defence or 
extension of its temporal interests inevitably increased in strength. 
In so far as such a resort can be justified, the Albigensian cru- 
sades were justified by a real antagonism of faith which fore- 
boded a division of Christianity, and their success irresistibly led 
to the application of the same means to cases in which there was 
not the semblance of a similar excuse. Of these one of the earli- 
est, as well as one of the most typical, was that of the Stedingers. 

The Stedingers were a mixed race who had colonized on the 
lower Weser the lands which their industry won from the over- 
flow of river and sea, their territory extending southward to the 
neighborhood of Bremen. A rough and semi-barbarous folk, no 
doubt — hardy herdsmen and fishermen, with perhaps an occasional 

* Concil. Later.m ann. 1102 (Harduin. VI. n. 1861-2).— Epist, Sigebert. (Mart. 
Ampl. Coll. I. 587-94).— -Chron. Cassinens. iv. 42, 44. (Cf. Martene Ampl. Coll. I. 
627.)— Hartzheim III. 258-65.— Martene Ampl. Coll. I. 659. 


tendency to piracy in the ages which celebrated the exploits of 
the Vikings of Jomsburg. They were freemen under the spiritual 
care of the Archbishops of Bremen, who in return enjoyed their 
tithes. This tithe question had been immemorially a troublesome 
one, ever since a tincture of Christianity had overspread those re- 
gions. In the eleventh century Adam of Bremen tells us that 
throughout the archiepiscopate the bishops sold their benedictions 
and the people were not only abandoned to lust and gluttony, but 
refused to pay their tithes. The Stedingers were governed by 
judges of their own choice, administering their own laws, until, 
about 1187, trouble arose from the attempts of the Counts of Old- 
enburg to extend their authority over the redeemed marshes and 
islands, by building a castle or two which should keep the popula- 
tion in check. There were few churches, and, as the parishes were 
large, the matrons were accustomed to carry their daughters to 
mass in wagons. The garrisons were in the habit of sallying 
forth and seizing these women to solace their solitude, till the peo- 
ple arose, captured the castles, slew the garrisons, and dug a ditch 
across a neck of their territory, leaving only one gate for entrance. 
John Count of Oldenburg recovered his castles, but after his death 
the Stedingers reasserted their independence. Among their rights 
they included the non-payment of tithes, and they treated with 
contumely the priests sent to compel their obedience. They 
strengthened their defences, and their freedom from feudal and 
ecclesiastical tyranny attracted to them refugees from all the 
neighboring lands. Hartwig, Archbishop of Bremen, when on his 
way to the Holy Land in 1197, is said to have asked Celestin III. 
to preach a crusade against them as heretics, but this is evidently 
an error, for the Albigensian wars had not as yet suggested the 
employment of such methods. Matters became more embroiled 
when some monks who ventured to inculcate upon the peasants 
the duty of tithe-paying were martyred. Still worse was it when 
a priest, irritated at the smallness of an oblation offered at Easter 
by a woman of condition, in derision slipped into her mouth the 
coin in place of the Eucharist. Unable to swallow it, and fearing 
to commit sacrilege, the woman kept it in her mouth till her re- 
turn home, when she ejected it in some clean linen and discovered 
the trick. Enraged at this insult her husband slew the priest, and 
thus increased the general ferment. After his return Hartwig en- 


deavored, in 1207, to reduce the recalcitrant population, but with- 
out success, except to get some money. * 

Yet the Stedingers were welcomed as fullv orthodox when 
their aid was wanted in the struggle which raged from 1208 till 
1217, between the rival archbishops of Bremen, first between 
Waldemar and Burchard, and then between TYaldemar and Ger- 
hardt. Banged at first on the side of 'Waldemar, after the triumph 
of Frederic II. over Otho their defection to Gerhardt was decisive, 
and in 1217 the latter obtained his archiepiscopal seat, where he 
held his allies in high favor until his death in 1219. He was suc- 
ceeded by Gerhardt II., of the House of Lippe, a warlike prelate 
who endeavored to overthrow the liberties of Bremen itself, and 
to levy tolls on all the commerce of the Weser. The Stedinger 
tithes were not likely to escape his attention. Other distractions, 
including a war with the King of Denmark and strife with the 
recalcitrant citizens of Bremen, prevented any immediate effort to 
subjugate the Stedingers, but at length his hands were free. His 
brother, Hermann Count of Lippe, came to his assistance with 
other nobles, for the independence of the Weser peasant-folk was 
of evil import to the neighboring feudal lords. To take advantage 
of the ice in those watery regions the expedition set forth in De- 
cember, 1229, under the leadership of the count and the archbishop. 
The Stedingers resisted valiantly. On Christmas Day a battle was 
fought in which Count Hermann was slain and the crusaders put 
to flight. To celebrate the triumph the victors in derision ap- 
pointed mock officials, styling one emperor, another pope, and 
others archbishops and bishops, and these issued letters under these 
titles — a sorry jest, which when duly magnified represented them 
as rebels against all temporal and spiritual authority. + 

* Schumacher, Die Stedinger, Bremen, 1865, pp. 26-8. — Adam. Bremens. Gest. 
Pontif. Hammaburg. c. 203. — Chron. Erfordiens. ami. 1230 (Schannat Vindem. 
Litt. I. 93).— Chron. Rastedens. (Meibom. Rer. Germ. II. 101).— Albert. Stadens. 
Chron. ann. 1207 (Schilt S. R. Germ. I. 299).— Joan. Otton. Cat. Archiepp. Bremens. 
ann. 1207 (Menken. S. R. Germ. II. 791). 

f Albert. Stadens. Chron. ann. 1208-17, 1230.— Joan. Otton. Cat. Archiepp. 
Bremens. ann. 1211-20. — Anon. Saxon. Hist. Impp. ann. 1229 (Menken. III. 
125).— Chron. Rastedens. (Meibom. II. 101). 

There is considerable confusion among the authorities with regard to these 
events. I have followed the careful investigations of Schumacher, op. cit. pp. 


It was evident that some more potent means must be found to 
overcome the indomitable peasantry, and the device adopted was 
suggested by the success, in 1230, of the crusade preached by Wil- 
brand, Bishop of Utrecht, against the free Frisians in revenge for 
their slaying his predecessor Otho, a brother of Archbishop Ger- 
hardt, and imprisoning his other brother, Dietrich, Provost of 
Deventer, after their victory of Coevorden. It was scarce pos- 
sible not to follow this example. At a synod held in Bremen in 
1230, the Stedingers were put to the ban as the vilest of heretics, 
who treated the Eucharist with contempt too horrible for descrip- 
tion, who sought responses from wise-women, made waxen images, 
and wrought many other works of darkness.* 

Doubtless there were remnants of pagan superstition in Steding, 
such as we shall hereafter see existing throughout many parts of 
Christendom, which served as. a foundation for these accusations, 
but that in fact there were no religious principles involved, and 
that the questions at issue were purely political, is indicated by the 
praise which Frederic II., in an epistle dated June 14, 1230, bestows 
on the Stedingers for the aid which they had rendered to a house 
of the Teutonic Knights, and his exhortation that they should con- 
tinue to protect it. We learn, moreover, that everywhere the peas- 
antry openly favored them and joined them when opportunity per- 
mitted. It was simply an episode in the extension of feudalism and 
sacerdotalism. The scattered remains of the old Teutonic tribal in- 
dependence were to be crushed, and the combined powers of Church 
and State were summoned to the task. How readily such accusa- 
tions could be imposed on the credulity of the people we have seen 
from the operations of Conrad of Marburg, and the stories to which 
he gave currency of far-pervading secret rites of demon-worship. 
Yet the preliminaries of a crusade consumed time, and during 1231 
and 1232 Archbishop Gerhardt had all he could do to withstand 
the assaults of the victorious peasants, who twice captured and de- 
stroyed the castle of Schlatter, which he had rebuilt to protect his 
territories from their incursions ; he sought support in Rome, and in 
October, 1232, after ordering an investigation of the heresy by the 
Bishops of Lubeck, Ratzeburg, and Minden, Gregory IX. came to 

* Emonis Chron. ann. 1227, 1230 (Matthaei Analecta III. 128, 132).— Schu- 
macher, p. 81. 


his aid with bulls addressed to the Bishops of Minden, Lubeck, and 
Yerden, ordering them to preach the cross against the rebels. In 
these there is nothing said about tithes, but the Stedingers are de- 
scribed as heretics of the worst description, who deny God, wor- 
ship demons, consult seeresses, abuse the sacrament, make wax 
figurines to destroy their enemies, and commit the foulest excesses 
on the clergy, sometimes nailing priests to the wall with arms and 
legs spread out, in derision of the Crucified. Gregory's long pon- 
tificate was devoted to two paramount objects — the destruction of 
Frederic II. and the suppression of heresy. The very name of 
heretic seemed to awake in him a wrath which deprived him of all 
reasoning powers, and he threw himself into the contest with the 
unhappy peasants of the Weser marshes as unreservedly as he did 
into that which Conrad of Marburg was contemporaneously wag- 
ing with the powers of darkness in the Rhinelands. In January, 
1233, he wrote to the Bishops of Paderborn, Hildesheim, Yerden, 
Miinster, and Osnabriick, ordering them to assist their brethren of 
Ratzeburg, Minden, and Lubeck, whom he had commissioned to 
preach a crusade, with full pardons, against the heretics called 
Stedingers, who were destroying the faithful people of those re- 
gions. An army had meanwhile been collected which accom- 
plished nothing during the winter against the steadfast resolution 
of the peasants, and dispersed on the expiration of its short term 
of service. In a papal epistle of June 17, 1233, to the Bishops of 
Minden, Lubeck, and Ratzeburg, this lack of success is represented 
as resulting from a mistaken belief on the part of the crusaders 
that they were not getting the same indulgences as those granted 
for the Holy Land, leading them to withdraw after gaining decisive 
advantages. The bishops are therefore ordered to preach a new 
crusade in which there shall be no error as to the pardons to be 
earned, unless meanwhile the Stedingers shall submit to the arch- 
bishop and abandon their heresies. Already, however, another 
band of crusaders had been organized, which, towards the end of 
June, 1233, penetrated eastern Steding, on the right bank of the 
Weser. This district had hitherto kept aloof from the strife, and 
was defenceless. The crusaders devastated the land with fire and 
sword, slaying without distinction of age or sex, and manifesting 
their religious zeal by burning all the men who were captured. 
The crusade came to an inglorious end, however ; for, encouraged 


by its easy success, Count Burchard of Oldenburg, its leader, was 
emboldened to attack the fortified lands on the west bank, when he 
and some two hundred crusaders were slain and the rest were 
glad to escape with their lives.* 

Matters were evidently growing serious. The success of the 
Stedingers in battling for the maintenance of their independence 
was awakening an uneasy feeling among the populations, and the 
feudal nobles were no less interested than the prelates in sub- 
duing what might prove to be the nucleus of a dangerous and far- 
reaching revolt. The third crusade was therefore preached with 
additional energy over a wider circle than before, and prepara- 
tions were made for an expedition in 1234 on a scale to crush all 
resistance. Dominicans spread like a cloud over Holland, Flan- 
ders, Brabant, Westphalia, and the Rhinelands, summoning the 
faithful to defend religion. In Friesland they had little success, 
for the population sympathized with their kindred and were 
rather disposed to maltreat the preachers, but elsewhere their 
labors were abundantly rewarded. Bulls of February 11 take un- 
der papal protection the territories of Henry Baspe of Thuringia, 
and Otho of Brunswick, who had assumed the cross — the latter, 
however, only with a view to self-protection, for he was an enemy 
of Archbishop Gerhardt. The heaviest contingent came from the 
west, under Hendrik, Duke of Brabant, consisting, it is said, of 
forty thousand men led by the preux chevalier, Florent, Count of 
Holland, together with Thierry, Count of Cleves, Arnoul of Oude- 
narde, Rasso of Gavres, Thierry of Dixmunde, Gilbert of Zotte- 
ghem, and other nobles, eager to earn salvation and preserve their 
feudal rights. Three hundred ships from Holland gave assurance 
that the maritime part of the expedition should not be lacking. 
Apparently warned by the disastrous outcome of his zeal in the 
affair of Conrad of Marburg, Gregory at the last moment seems 
to have felt some misgiving, and in March, 1234, sent to Bishop 
Guglielmo, his legate in North Germany, orders to endeavor by 
peaceful means to bring about the reconciliation of the peasants, 

* Hist. Diplom. Frid. II. T. IV. p. 497.— Albert. Stadens. Chrou. aim. 1232, 
1234.— Raynald. ann. 1232, No. 8.— Hartzheim III. 553.— Joan. Ottonis Cat. Ar- 
chiepp. Bremens. ann. 1234. — Anon. Saxon. Hist. Imperator. ann. 1220. — Chron. 
Cornel. Zantfliet ann. 1233.— Epistt. Select. Saecul. XIII. T. I. No. 539 (Pertz). 


but the effort came too late. In April the hosts were already as- 
sembling, and the legate did, and probably could do, nothing to 
avert the final blow. Overwhelming as was the force of the cru- 
saders, the handful of peasants met it with their wonted resolu- 
tion. At Altenesch, on May 27, they made their stand and re- 
sisted with stubborn valor the onslaught of Hendrik of Brabant 
and Florent of Holland ; but, in the vast disparity of numbers, 
Thierry of Cleves was able to make a flank attack with fresh 
troops which broke their ranks, when they were slaughtered un- 
sparingly. Six thousand were left dead upon the field, besides 
those drowned in the Weser in the vain attempt at flight, and we 
are asked to believe that the divine favor was manifested in that 
only seven of the crusaders perished. The land now lay defence- 
less before the soldiers of the Lord, who improved their victory by 
laying it waste with fire and sword, sparing neither age nor sex. 
Six centuries later, on May 27, 1S34, a monument was solemnly 
dedicated on the field of Altenesch to the heroes who fell in des- 
perate defence of their land and liberty.* 

Bald as was the pretence for this frightful tragedy, the Church 
assumed all the responsibility and kept up the transparent fiction 
to the last. When the slaughter and devastation were over, came 
the solemn farce of reconciling the heretics. As the land had 
been so long under their control, their dead were buried indistin- 
guishable with the remains of the orthodox, so, November 28, 
123-1, Gregory graciously announced that the necessity of exhu- 
mation would be waived in view of the impossibility of separat- 
ing the one from the other, but that all cemeteries must be conse- 
crated anew to overcome the pollution of the heretic bodies within 
them. Considerable time must have been consumed in the settle- 
ment of all details, for it is not until August, 1236, that Gregory 
writes to the archbishop that, as the Stedingers have abandoned 
their rebellion and humbly supplicated for reconciliation, he is 

# Emonis Chron. aim. 1234 (Matthsei Analccta III. 139 sqq.). — Potthast No. 
9399, 9400. — Epistt. Select. Sa3cul. XIII. T. I. No. 572.— Meyeri Annal. Flandr. 
Lib. Yin. ami. 1233. — Chron. Cornel. Zantfliet ann. 1234.— Schumacher, pp. 116- 
17.— Chron. Erfordiens. ann. 1232.— Sachsische Weltchronik No. 376-8.— H.Wol- 
teri Chron. Bremens. (Meibom. Rer. Germ. II. 58-9).— Chron. Rastedens. (lb. II. 
101). — Joan Otton. Cat. Archiepp. Bremens. ann. 1234. — Albert. Stadens. ann. 
1234. — Anon. Saxon. Hist. Imperator. aim. 1229. 


authorized to reconcile them on receiving proper security that 
they will be obedient for the future and make proper amends for 
the past. In this closing act of the bloody drama it is noteworthy 
that there is no allusion to any of the specific heresies which had 
been alleged as a reason for the extermination of the heretics. 
Perhaps the breaking of Conrad of Marburg's bubble had shown 
the falsity of the charges, but whether this were so or not those 
charges had been w T holly supererogatory except as a means of ex- 
citing popular animosity. Disobedience to the Church was suffi- 
cient ; resistance to its claims was heresy, punishable here and here- 
after with all the penalties of the temporal and spiritual swords.* 

It is not to be supposed that Gregory neglected to employ in 
his owm interest the moral and material forces which he had thus 
put at the disposal of Gerhardt of Bremen. When, in 1238, he 
became involved in a quarrel with the Viterbians and their leader 
Aldobrandini, he commuted the vow of the Podesta of Spoleto to 
serve in Palestine into service against Yiterbo, and he freely of- 
fered Holy Land indulgences to all who would enlist under his 
banner. In 1241 he formally declared the cause of the Church to 
be more important than that of Palestine, when, being in want of 
funds to carry on his contest with Frederic II., he ordered that 
crusaders be induced to commute their vow t s for money, while still 
receiving full indulgences, or else be persuaded to turn their arms 
against Frederic in the crusade which he had caused to be preached 
against him. Innocent IV. pursued the same policy when he had 
set up a rival emperor in the person of William of Holland, and a 
crusade was preached in 1248 for a special expedition to Aix-la- 
Chapelle, of which the capture was necessary in order to his coro- 
nation, and vows for Palestine were redeemed that the money 
should be handed over to him. After Frederic's death his son 
Conrad IV. was the object of similar measures, and all who bore 
arms in his favor against William of Holland were the subject 
of papal anathemas. To maintain the Italian interests of the 

* Potthast No. 9777.— Hartzheim III. 554. 

As the contemporary Abbot Emo of Wittewerum says, in describing the af- 
fair — " principalior causa fuit inobedientia, quse scelere idololatriae non est infe- 
rior" (Mattbaei Analect. III. 142). 


papacy, men slaughtered each other in holy wars all over Europe. 
The disastrous expedition to Aragon which cost Philippe le Hardi 
his life in 1281 was a crusade preached by order of Martin IY. to 
aid Charles of Anjou, and to punish Pedro III. for his conquest of 
Sicily after the Sicilian Vespers.* 

With the systematization of the laws against heresy and the 
organization of the Inquisition, proceedings of this nature assume 
a more regular shape, especially in Italy. It was in their charac- 
ter as Italian princes that the popes found the supreme utility of 
the Holy Office. Frederic II. had been forced to pay for his coro- 
nation not only by the edict of persecution, but by the confirma- 
tion of the grant of the Countess Matilda. Papal ambition thus 
stimulated aspired to the domination of the whole of Italy, and 
for this the way seemed open with the death of Frederic in 1250, 
followed by that of Conrad in 1254. When the hated Suabians 
passed away, the unification of Italy under the triple crown seemed 
at hand, and Innocent IY., before his death in December, 1254, 
had the supreme satisfaction of lording it in Naples, the most 
powerful pope that the Holy See had known. Yet the nobles and 
cities were as unwilling to subject themselves to the Innocents 
and Alexanders as to the Frederics, and the turbulent factions of 
Guelf and Ghibelline maintained the civil strife in every corner 
of central and upper Italy. To the papal policy it was an invalu- 
able assistance to have the power of placing in every town of im- 
portance an inquisitor whose devotion to Rome was unquestioned, 
whose person was inviolable, and who was authorized to compel 
the submissive assistance of the secular arm under terror of a 
prosecution for heresy in the case of slack obedience. Such an 
agent could cope with podesta and bishop, and even an unruly 
populace rarely ventured a resort to temporary violence. The 
statutes of the republics, as we have seen, were modified and 
moulded to adapt them to the fullest development of the new 
power, under the excuse of facilitating the extermination of her- 
esy, and the Holy Office became the ultimate expression of the 
serviceable devotion of the Mendicant Orders to the Holy See. 
From this point of view we are able to appreciate the full signifi- 

. * Epistt. Selectt. Saec. XIII. T. I. No. 720, 801.— Berger, Registres dTnnoceut 
IV. No. 4181, 4265, 4269.— Ripoll I. 219, 225.— Vaissette, IV. 46. 


cance of the terrible bulls Ad extirpanda, described in a previous 

It was possibly with a view thus to utilize the force of both 
Orders that the Inquisitions of northern and central Italy were 
divided between them, and their respective provinces permanent- 
ly assigned to each. Nor perhaps would we err in recognizing an 
object in the assignment to the Dominicans, who were regarded 
as sterner and more vigorous than their rivals, of the province of 
Lombardy, which not only was the hot-bed of heresy, but which 
retained some recollections of the ancient independence of the 
Ambrosian Church, and was more susceptible to imperial influ- 
ences from Germany. 

With the development of the laws against heresy, and the or- 
ganization of special tribunals for the application of those laws, 
it was soon perceived that an accusation of heresy was a peculiar- 
ly easy and efficient method of attacking a political enemy. No 
charge was easier to bring, none so difficult to disprove — in fact, 
from what we have seen of the procedure of the Inquisition, there 
was none in which acquittal was so absolutely impossible where 
the tribunal was desirous of condemnation. When employed po- 
litically the accused had the naked alternative of submission or 
of armed resistance. No crime, moreover, according to the ac- 
cepted legal doctrines of the age, carried with it a penalty so se- 
vere for a potentate who was above all other laws. Besides, the 
procedure of the Inquisition required that when a suspected her- 
etic was summoned to trial, his first step was humbly to swear 
to stand to the mandates of the Church, and perform whatever 
penance it should see fit to impose in case he failed to clear him- 
self of the suspicion. Thus an immense advantage was gained 
over a political enemy by merely citing him to appear, when he 
was obliged either to submit himself in advance to any terms that 
might be dictated to him, or, by refusing to appear, expose him- 
self to condemnation for contumacy with its tremendous temporal 

It mattered little what were the grounds on which a charge 
of heresy was based. In the intricate intrigues and factional strife 
which seethed and boiled in every Italian city, there could be 
no lack of excuse for setting the machinery of the Inquisition in 
motion whenever there was an object to be attained. With the 


organization of the Hildebrandine theocracy the heretical charac- 
ter of simple disobedience, which had been implied rather than 
expressed, came to be distinctly formulated. Thomas Aquinas 
did not shrink from proving that resistance to the authority of 
the Roman Church was heretical. By embodying in the canon 
law the bull Unam Sanctum the Church accepted the definition 
of Boniface VIII. that whoever resists the power lodged by God 
in the Church resists God, unless, like a Manichaean, he believes in 
two principles, which shows him to be a heretic. If the supreme 
spiritual power errs, it is to be judged of God alone ; there is no 
earthly appeal. " We say, declare, define, and pronounce that it is 
necessary to salvation that every human creature be subjected to 
the Roman pontiff." Inquisitors, therefore, were fully justified in 
laying it down as an accepted principle of law that disobedience 
to any command of the Holy See was heresy ; so was any attempt 
to deprive the Roman Church of any privilege which it saw fit 
to claim. As a corollary to this was the declaration that inquisi- 
tors had power to levy Avar against heretics and to give it the 
character of a crusade by granting all the indulgences offered for 
the succor of the Holy Land. Armed with such powers, it would 
be difficult to exaggerate the importance of the Inquisition as a 
political instrument.* 

Incidental allusion has been made above to the application of 
these methods in the cases of Ezzelin da Romano and Uberto Pal- 
lavicino, and we have seen their efficacy even in the tumultuous 
lawlessness of the period as one of the factors in the ruin of those 
powerful chiefs. AVhen the crusade against Ezzelin was preached 
in the north of Europe he was represented to the people simply 
as a powerful heretic who was persecuting the faith. Even more 
conspicuous was the application of this principle in the great 

* Th. Aquinat. Sec. Sec. Q. 11, No. 2-3.— C. 1. Extrav. Commun. i. 8.— Zancbini 
Tract, de Haeret. c. ii., xxxvii. 

It was probably as a derivative from the sanctity of the power of the Holy 
See that the Inquisition was given jurisdiction over the forgers and falsifiers 
of papal bulls — gentry whose industry we have seen to be one of the inevi- 
table consequences of the autocracy of Rome. Letters under which Fra Gri- 
maldo da Prato. Inquisitor of Tuscany in 1297, was directed to act in certain 
cases of the kind are printed by Arnati in the Archivio Storico Italiano, No. 38, 


struggle on which all the rest depended, which in fact decided the 
destiny of the whole peninsula. The destruction of Manfred was 
an actual necessity to the success of the papal policy, and for 
years the Church sought throughout Europe a champion who 
could be allured by the promise of an earthly crown and assured 
salvation. In 1255 Alexander IY. authorized his legate, Bustand, 
Bishop of Bologna, to release Henry III. of England from his cru- 
sader's vow if he would turn his arms against Manfred, and the 
bribe of the Sicilian throne was offered to Henry's son, Edmund 
of Lancaster. When Bustand preached the crusade against Man- 
fred and offered the same indulgences as for the Holy Land the 
ignorant islanders wondered greatly at learning that the same 
pardons could be earned for shedding Christian blood as for 
that of the infidel. They did not understand that Manfred was 
necessarily a heretic, and that, as Alexander soon afterwards de- 
clared to Bainerio Saccone, it was more important to defend the 
faith at home than in foreign lands. In 1264, when Alphonse of 
Boitiers was projecting a crusade, Urban IY. urged him to change 
his purpose and assail Manfred, Finally, when Charles of Anjou 
was induced to strive for the glittering prize, all the enginery of 
the Church was exerted to raise for him an army of crusaders with 
a lavish distribution of the treasures of salvation. The shreivd 
lawyer, Clement IY., seconded and justified the appeal to arms 
by a formal trial for heresy. Just as the crusade was burst- 
ing upon him, Clement was summoning him to present himself 
for trial as a suspected heretic. The term assigned to him was 
February 2, 1266 ; Manfred had more pressing cares at the mo- 
ment, and contented himself with sending procurators to offer 
purgation for him. As he did not appear personally, Clement, on 
February 21, called upon the consistory to declare him condemned 
as a contumacious heretic, arguing that his excuse that the enemy 
were upon him was invalid, since he had only to give up his king- 
dom to avert attack. As but five days after this, on February 26, 
Manfred fell upon the disastrous field of Benevento, the legal pro- 
ceedings had no influence on the result, yet none the less do they 
serve to show the spirit in which Borne administered against its 
political opponents the laws which it had enacted against heresy.* 

* Th. Cantimpratens. Bonum universale, Lib. 11. c. 2.— Matt. Paris ann. 1255 
III.— 13 


This was the virtual destruction of the imperial power in Italy. 
With the Angevines on the throne of Naples and the empire nul- 
lified by the Great Interregnum and its consequences, the popes 
had ample opportunity to employ the penalties for heresy to grat- 
ify hatred or to extend their power. How they used the weapon 
for the one purpose is seen when Boniface Till, quarrelled with 
the Colonnas and condemned them as heretics, driving the whole 
family out of Italy, tearing down their houses and destroying 
their property ; though after Sciarra Colonna vindicated his ortho- 
doxy by capturing and causing the death of Boniface at Anagni, 
Benedict XI. made haste to reverse the sentence, except as to con- 
fiscation.* How the principle worked when applied to temporal 
aggrandizement may be estimated from the attempt of Clement V. 
to gain possession of Ferrara. When the Marchese Azzo d' Este 
died, in 1308, he left no legitimate heirs, and the Bishop of Ferrara 
was Fra Guido Maltraverso, the former inquisitor who had suc- 
ceeded in burning the bones of Armanno Pongilupo. He forth- 
with commenced intriguing to secure the city for the Holy See, 
which had some shadowy claims arising under the donations of 
Charlemagne. Clement V. eagerly grasped at the opportunity. 
He pronounced the rights of the Church unquestionable, and con- 
doled with the Ferrarese on their having been so long deprived of 
the sweetness of clerical rule and subjected to those who devoured 
them. There were two pretenders, Azzo's brother Francesco and 
his natural son Frisco. The Ferrarese desired neither ; they even 

(p. 614).— Ripoll I. 326.— Raynald. ann. 1264, No. 14.— Arch, de lTnq. de Car- 
cassonne (Doat, XXXII. 27). 

Clement IV. (Gui Foucoix) was regarded as one of the best lawyers of his 
day, but in the severity of his application of the law against Manfred he was 
not unanimously supported by the cardinals. On February 20 he writes to 
the Cardinal of S. Martino, his legate in the Mark of Ancona, for his opinion on 
the question. Manfred and Uberto Pallavicino had both been cited to appear 
on trial for heresy. Manfred had sent procurators to offer purgation, but Uberto 
had disregarded the summons and was a contumacious heretic. To the con- 
demnation of the latter there was therefore no opposition, but some cardinals 
thought that Manfred's excuse was reasonable in view of the enemy at his gates, 
even though he could easily avert attack by surrender.— Clement PP. IV. Epist. 
232 (Martene Thesaur. H. 279). 

* C. 1, Sexto v. 3.— C. 1, Extrav. Commun. v. 4. 


manifested a disregard for the blessings promised them by Clem- 
ent and proclaimed a republic. Frisco sought the aid of the 
Venetians, while Francesco secured the support of the Church. 
Frisco obtained possession, but fled when Francesco advanced 
with the papal legate, Arnaldo di Pelagrua, who assumed the 
domination of the city — as a contemporary chronicler observes, 
Francesco had no reason to be disappointed, for ecclesiastics al- 
ways act like rapacious wolves. Then, with the aid of the Vene- 
tians, Frisco regained possession, and peace was made in December, 
1308. This was but the commencement of the struggle for the 
unhappy citizens. In 1309 Clement proclaimed a crusade against 
the Venetians. March 7 he issued a bull casting an interdict 
over Venice with confiscation of all its possessions, excommunicat- 
ing the doge, the senate, and all the gentlemen of the republic, 
and offering Venetians to slavery throughout the world. As their 
ships sailed to every port, many Venetian merchants were reduced 
to servitude throughout Christendom. The legate assiduously 
preached the crusade, and all the bishops of the region assembled 
at Bologna with such forces as they could raise. Multitudes took 
the cross to gain the indulgence, Bologna alone furnishing eight 
thousand troops, and the legate advanced with an overwhelming 
army. After severe fighting the Venetians were defeated with 
such slaughter that the legate, to avert a pestilence, offered an 
indulgence to every man who would bury a dead body, and the 
fugitives drowned in the Po were so numerous that the water 
was corrupted and rendered unfit to drink. All the prisoners 
taken he blinded and sent to Venice, and on entering the city he 
hanged all the adherents of Frisco. Appointing a governor in 
the name of the Church, he returned to Avignon and was splen- 
didly rewarded for his services in the cause of Christ, while Clem- 
ent unctuously congratulated the Ferrarese on their return to the 
sweet bosom of the Church, and declared that no one could, with- 
out sighs and tears, reflect upon their miseries and afflictions under 
their native rulers. In spite of this the ungrateful people, chaf- 
ing under the foreign domination, arose in 1310 and massacred 
the papalists. Then the legate returned with a Bolognese force, 
regained possession and hanged the rebels, with the exception of 
one, who bought off his life. Fresh tumults occurred, with bloody 
reprisals and frightful atrocities on both sides until, in 1314, Clem- 


ent, wearied with his prize, made it over to Sancha, wife of Robert 
of Xaples. The Gascon garrison excited the hatred of the people, 
who in 1317 invited Azzo, son of Francesco, to come to their re- 
lief. After a stubborn resistance the Gascons surrendered on 
promise of life, but the fury of the people would not be restrained, 
and they were slain to the last man. From this brief episode in 
the history of an Italian city we can conceive what was the in- 
fluence of papal ambition stimulated by the facility with which 
its opponents could be condemned as heretics and armies be raised 
at will to defend the faith." 

John XXII. was not a pope to allow the spiritual sword to 
rust in the sheath, and we have seen incidentally the use which 
he made of the charge of heresy in his mortal combat with Louis 
of Bavaria. Still more characteristic were his proceedings against 
the Yisconti of Milan. On his accession in August, 1316, his first 
thought was to unite Italy under his overlordship, and to keep 
the empire beyond the Alps, for which the contested election of 
Louis of Bavaria and Frederic of Austria seemed to offer full op- 
portunity. Early in December he despatched Bernard Gui, the 
Inquisitor of Toulouse, and Bertrand, Franciscan Minister of Aqui- 
taine, as nuncios to effect that purpose. Neither Guelfs nor Ghib- 
elhnes were inclined to accept his views — the Ferrarese troubles, 
not as yet concluded, were full of pregnant warnings. Especially 

* Barbarano de 1 Mironi, Hist. Eccles. di Vicenza II. 153-4. — Regest. Clement. 
PP. V. T. III. pp. 354 sqq. ; T. IV. pp. 426 sqq., pp. 459 sqq. ; T. V.p. 412. (Ed. 
Benedictin., Romas, 1886-7).— Chron. Estense ann. 1309-17 (Muratori S. R. I. XV. 
364-82).— FerretiVincentini Hist. Lib. in. (lb. IX. 1037-47).— Cronica di Bologna, 
ann. 1309-10 (lb. XVIII. 320-1).— Campi, Dell 1 Histor. Eccles. di Ferrara, P. in. 
p. 40. 

Even the pious and temperate Muratori cannot restrain himsell from describ- 
ing Clement's bull against the Venetians as " la piu tei'ribile ed ingiusta Bolla che 
si sia mai udita" (Annal. ann. 1309). We have seen in the case of Florence what 
control such measures enabled the papacy to exercise over the commercial re- 
publics of Italy. The confiscation threatened in the sentence of excommunica- 
tion was no idle menace. When, in 1281, Martin IV. quarrelled with the city of 
Forliand excommunicated it he ordered, under pain of excommunication not re- 
movable even on the death-bed, all who owed money to the citizens to declare 
the debts to his representatives and pay them over, and he thus collected many 
thousand lire of his enemies' substance. — Chron. Parmeus. ann. 1281 (Muratori 
S. R. I. IX. 797) 


recalcitrant were the three Ghibeliine chiefs of Lombardy, Matteo 
Yisconti, known as the Great, who ruled over the greater part of 
the region and still retained the title of Imperial Yicar bestowed 
on him by Henry YIL, Cane della Scala, Lord of Yerona, and Pas- 
serino of Mantua. They received his envoys with all due honor, 
but found excuses for evading his commands. In March, 1317, 
John issued a bull in which he declared that all the imperial 
appointments had lapsed on the death of Henry, that until his 
successor had received the papal approval all the power of the 
empire vested in the Holy See, and that whoever presumed to 
exercise those powers without permission was guilty of treason 
to the Church. Papal imperiousness on one side and Ghibeliine 
stubbornness on the other rendered a rupture inevitable. It is not 
our province to trace the intricate maze of diplomatic intrigue and 
military activity which followed, with the balance of success pre- 
ponderating decidedly in favor of the Ghibellines. April 6, 1318, 
came a bull decreeing excommunication on Matteo, Cane, Passeri- 
no, and all who refused obedience. This was speedily followed by 
formal monitions and citations to trial on charges of heresy, Mat- 
teo and his sons being the chief objects of persecution. It was not 
difficult to find materials for these, furnished by refugees from 
Milan at the papal court — Bonifacio di Farra, Lorenzo Gallmi, and 
others. The Yisconti were accused of erring in the faith, especially 
as to the resurrection, of invoking the devil, with whom they had 
compacts, of protecting Guglielma ; they were fautors of heretics 
and impeders of the Inquisition ; they had robbed churches, vio- 
lated nuns, and tortured and slain priests. The Yisconti remained 
contumaciously absent and were duly condemned as heretics. Mat- 
teo summoned a conference of the Ghibeliine chiefs at Soncino, 
which treated the action of the pope as an effort to resuscitate the 
failing cause of the Guelfs. A Ghibeliine league was formed with 
Can Grande della Scala as captain of its forces. To meet this John 
called in the aid of France, appointed Philippe de Yalois Imperial 
Yicar, and procured a French invasion which proved bootless. Then 
he sent his son or nephew, Cardinal Bertrand de Poyet as legate, 
with the title of " pacifier," at the head of a crusading army raised 
by a lavish distribution of indulgences. As Petrarch says, he as- 
sailed Milan as though it were an infidel city, like Memphis or 
Damascus, and Poyet, whose ferocity was a proof of his paternity, 


came not as an apostle, but as a robber. A devastating war ensued, 
with little advantage to the papalists, but the spiritual sword proved 
more effective than the temporal. May 26, 1321, the sentence of 
condemnation was solemnly promulgated in the Church of San 
Stefano at Basseguano, and was repeated by the inquisitors March 
14, 1322, at Valenza.* 

Strange as it may seem, these proceedings appear to have had 
a decisive influence on public opinion. It is true that when, in the 
seventeenth century, Paolo Sarpi alluded to these transactions and 
assumed that Matteo's only crime was his adherence to Louis of 
Bavaria, Cardinal Albizio admitted the fact, and argued that those 
who adhered to a schismatic and heretic emperor, and disregarded 
the censures of the Church, rendered themselves suspect of heresy 
and became formal heretics. Yet this was not the impression at 
the time, and John had recognized that something more was re- 
quired than such a charge of mere technical heresy. The Continua- 
tion of Xangis, which reflects with fidelity the current of popular 
thought, recounts the sins of Matteo and his sons, described in 
the papal sentence, as a new heresy arisen in Lombardy, and the 
papalist military operations as a righteous crusade for its suppres- 
sion. Although this was naturally a French view of the matter, 
it was not confined to France. In Lombardy Matteo's friends 
were discouraged and his enemies took fresh heart. A peace party 
speedily formed itself in Milan, and the question was openly asked 
whether the whole region should be sacrificed for the sake of one 
man. In spite of Matteo's success in buying off Frederic of Aus- 
tria, whom John had bribed with gold and promises to intervene 
with an army, the situation grew untenable even for his seasoned 
nerves. It is, perhaps, worthy of mention that Francesco Gar- 
bagnate, the old Guglielmite, association with whom was one of 
the proofs of heresy alleged against Matteo, was one of the efficient 

* Preger, Die Politik des Pabstes Johann XXII., Miincben, 1885, pp. 6-10, 
21. — Petrarchi Lib. sine Titulo Epist. xviii. — Raynald. ann. 1317, No. 27; ann. 
1320, No. 10-14; ann. 1322, No. 6-8, 11.— Bernard. Corio, Hist, Milanese, ann. 
1318, 1320, 1321-22. 

A bull of John XXII., Jan. 28, 1322, ordering the sale of indulgences to aid 
the crusade of Cardinal Bertrand, recites the heresy of Visconti and his refusal 
to obey the summons for his trial as the reason for assailing him. — Regest. CJem. 
PP. V., Romae, 1885. T. I. Prolegom. p. cxcviii. 


agents in procuring his downfall, for Matteo had estranged him 
by refusing him the captaincy of the Milanese militia. Matteo 
sent to the legate to beg for terms, and was told that nothing 
short of abdication would be listened to ; he consulted the citizens 
and was given to understand that Milan would not expose itself 
to ruin for his sake. He yielded to the storm — perhaps his sev- 
enty-two years had somewhat weakened his powers of resistance 
— -he sent for his son Galeazzo, with whom he had quarrelled, and 
resigned to him his power, with an expression of regret that his 
quarrel with the Church had made the citizens his enemies. From 
that time forth he devoted himself to visiting the churches. In 
the Chiesa Maggiore he assembled the clergy, recited the Symbol 
in a loud voice, crying that it had been his faith during life, and 
that any assertion to the contrary was false, and of this he caused 
a public instrument to be drawn up. Departing thence like to 
one crazed, he hastened to Monza to visit the Church of S. Giovanni 
Battista, where he was taken sick and was brought back to the 
Monastery of Cresconzago, and died within three days, on June 27, 
to be thrust into unconsecrated ground. The Church might well 
boast that its ban had broken the spirit of the greatest Italian of 
the age.* 

The younger Yisconti — Galeazzo, Lucchino, Marco, Giovanni, 
and Stefano — were not so impressionable, and rapidly concen- 
trated the Ghibelline forces which seemed to be breaking in pieces. 
To give them their coup de grace, the pope, December 23, 1322, 
ordered Aicardo, the Archbishop of Milan, and the Inquisition to 
proceed against the memory of Matteo. January 13, 1323, from 
the safe retreat of Asti, Aicardo and three inquisitors, Pace da 
Yedano, Giordano da Montecucho, and Honesto da Pa via, cited 
him for appearance on February 25, in the Church of Santa Maria 
at Borgo, near Alessandria, to be tried and judged, whether pres- 
ent or not, and this citation they affixed on the portals of Santa 
Maria and of the cathedral of Alessandria. On the appointed day 
they were there, but a military demonstration of Marco Yisconti 
disturbed them, to the prejudice of the faith and impeding of the 

* Sarpi, Discorso, p. 25 (Ed. Helmstadt). — Albizio, Risposto al P. Paolo 
Sarpi, p. 75.— Continuat. Guill. Nangiac. ann. 1317. — Bern. Corio, aim. 1322. — 
Regest. Joann. PP. XXII. No. 89, 93, 94, 95 (Harduiu. VII. 1432). 


Inquisition. Transferring themselves to the securer walls of Ya- 
lenza, they heard witnesses and collected testimony, and on March 
14 they condemned Matteo as a defiant and unrepentant heretic. 
He had imposed taxes on the churches and collected them by vio- 
lence ; he had forcibly installed his creatures as superiors in mon- 
asteries and his concubines in nunneries ; he had imprisoned eccle- 
siastics and tortured them — some had died in prison and others 
still lingered there ; he had expelled prelates and seized their 
lands ; he had prevented the transmission of money to the papal 
camera, even sums collected for the Holy Land ; he had inter- 
cepted and opened letters between the pope and the legates ; he 
had attacked and slain crusaders assembled in Milan for the Holy 
Land ; he had disregarded excommunication, thus showing that 
he erred in the faith as to the sacraments and the power of the 
keys ; he had prevented the interdict laid upon Milan from being 
observed ; he had obstructed prelates from holding synods and 
visiting their dioceses, thus favoring heresies and scandals ; his 
enormous crimes show that he is an offshoot of heresy, his ances- 
tors having been suspect and some of them burned, and he has for 
officials and confidants heretics, such as Francesco Garbagnate, on 
whom crosses had been imposed ; he has expelled the Inquisition 
from Florence and impeded it for several years ; he interposed in 
favor of Maifreda who was burned ; he is an invoker of demons, 
seeking from them advice and responses ; he denies the resurrec- 
tion of the flesh ; he has endured papal excommunication for more 
than three years, and when cited for examination into his faith he 
refused to appear. He is, therefore, condemned as a contuma- 
cious heretic, all his territories are declared confiscated, he himself 
deprived of all honors, station, and dignities, and liable to the pen- 
alties decreed for heresy, his person to be captured, and his chil- 
dren and grandchildren subjected to the customary disabilities.* 

This curious farrago of accusations is worth reciting, as it shows 
what was regarded as heresy in an opponent of the temporal power 
of the papacy — that the simplest acts of self-defence against an 
enemy who was carrying on active war against him were gravely 
treated as heretical, and constituted valid reasons for inflicting 
all the tremendous penalties prescribed by the laws for lapses 

Ughelli, Italia Sacra, IV. 286-93 (Ed. 1652). 


in faith. Politically, however, the portentous sentence was inop- 
erative. Galeazzo maintained the field, and in February, 1324, 
inflicted a crushing defeat on the papal troops, the cardinal-legate 
barely escaping by flight, and his general, Paymondo di Cardona 
being carried a prisoner to Milan. Fresh comminations were nec- 
essarv to stimulate the faithful, and March 23 John issued a bull 
condemning Matteo and his five sons, reciting their evil deeds for 
the most part in the words of the inquisitorial sentence, though 
the looseness of the whole incrimination is seen in the omission of 
the most serious charge of all — that of demon-worship — and the 
defence of Maifreda is replaced by a statement that Matteo had 
interfered to save Galeazzo, who was now stated to have been a 
Guglielmite. The bull concludes by offering Holy Land indul- 
gences to all who would assail the Visconti. This was followed, 
April 12, by another, reciting that the sons of Matteo had been 
by competent judges duly convicted and sentenced for heresy, 
but in spite of this, Berthold of ISTyffen, calling himself Imperial 
Yicar of Lombardy, and other representatives of Louis of Bava- 
ria, had assisted the said heretics in resisting the faithful Catholics 
who had taken up arms against them. They are therefore allowed 
two months in which to lay down their pretended offices and sub- 
mit, as they have rendered themselves excommunicate and subject 
to all the penalties, spiritual and temporal, of fautorship.* 

It is scarce worth while to pursue further the dreary details of 
these forgotten quarrels, except to indicate that the case of the Vis- 
conti was in no sense exceptional, and that the same weapons were 
employed by John against all who crossed his ambitious schemes. 
The Inquisitor Accursio of Florence had proceeded in the same 
way against Castruccio of Lucca, as a fautor of heretics ; the in- 
quisitors of the March of Ancona had condemned Guido Malapieri, 
Bishop of Arezzo, and other Ghibellines for supporting Louis of 
Bavaria. Fra Lamberto del Cordiglio, Inquisitor of Romagnuola, 
was ordered to use his utmost exertions to punish those within his 
district. Louis of Bavaria, in his appeal of 1324, states that the 
same prosecutions were brought, and sentences for heresy pro- 
nounced, against Cane della Scala, Passerino, the Marquises of 
Montferrat, Saluces, Ceva, and others, the Genoese, the Lucchese, 

* Raynald. ann. 1324, No. 7-12.— Martene Thesaur. II. 754-6. 


and the cities of Milan, Como, Bergamo, Cremona, Yercelli, Trino, 
Yailate, Piacenza, Parma, Brescia, Alessandria, Tortona, Albenga, 
Pisa, Aretino, etc. We have a specimen of Fra Lamberto's opera- 
tions in a sentence pronounced by him, February 28, 1328, against 
Bernardino, Count of Cona. He had already condemned for heresy 
Bainaldo and Oppizo d' Este, in spite of which Bernardino had 
visited them in Ferrara, had eaten and drunk with them, and was 
said to have entered into a league with them. For these offences 
Lamberto summoned him to stand trial before the Inquisition. 
He duly appeared, and admitted the visit and banquet, but denied 
the alliance. Lamberto proceeded to take testimony, called an 
assembly of experts, and in due form pronounced him a fautor of 
heretics, condemning him, as such, to degradation from his rank 
and knighthood, and incapacity to hold any honors ; his estates 
were confiscated to the Church, his person was to be seized and 
delivered to the Cardinal-legate Bertrand or to the Inquisition, 
and his descendants for two generations were declared incapable 
of holding any office or benefice. All this was for the greater 
glory of God, for when, in 1326, John begged the clergy of Ireland 
to send him money, it was, he said, for the purpose of defending 
the faith against the heretics of Italy. Yet the Holy See was per- 
fectly ready, when occasion suited, to admit that this wholesale 
distribution of damnation 'was a mere prostitution of its control 
over the salvation of mankind. After the Yisconti had been rec- 
onciled with the papacy, in 1337, Lucchino, who was anxious to 
have Christian burial for his father, applied to Benedict XII. to 
reopen the process. In February of that year, accordingly, Bene- 
dict wrote to Pace da Yedano, who had conducted the proceedings 
against the Yisconti and against the citizens of Milan, Xovara, 
Bergamo, Cremona, Como, Yercelli, and other places for adhering 
to them, and who had been rewarded with the bishopric of Trieste, 
requiring him to send by Pentecost all the documents concerning 
the trial. The affair was protracted, doubtless owing to political 
vicissitudes, but at length, in May, 1341, Benedict took no shame in 
pronouncing the whole proceedings null and void for irregularity 
and injustice. Still the same machinery was used against Bernabo 
Yisconti, who was summoned by Innocent YI. to appear at Avignon 
on March 1, 1363, for trial as a heretic, and as he only sent a pro- 
curator, he was promptly condemned by Urban Y. on March 3, 


and a crusade was preached against him. In 1364 he made his 
peace, but in 1372 the perennial quarrel broke out afresh, he was 
excommunicated by Gregory XI., and in January, 1373, he was 
summoned to stand another trial for heresy on March 28.* 

In the same way heresy was the easiest charge to bring against 
Cola di Kienzo when he disregarded the papal sovereignty over 
Eome. When he failed to obey the summons to appear he was 
duly excommunicated for contumacy ; the legate Giovanni, Bishop 
of Spoleto, held an inquisition on him, and in 1350 he was formally 
declared a heretic. The decision was sent to the Emperor Charles 
IV., who held him at that time prisoner in Prague, and who duti- 
fully despatched him to Avignon. There, on a first examination, 
he was condemned to death, but he made his peace, and there ap- 
peared to be an opportunity of using him to advantage ; he was 
therefore finally pronounced a good Christian, and was sent back 
to Rome with a legate, f 

The Maff redi of Faenza afford a case very similar to that of the 
Yisconti. In 1345 we find them in high favor with Clement VI. 
In 1350 they are opposing the papal policy of aggrandizement in 
Romagnuola. Cited to appear in answer to charges of heresy, they 
refuse to do so, and in July, 1352, are excommunicated for contu- 
macy. In June, 1354, Innocent VI. recites their persistent endur- 
ance of this excommunication, and gives them until October 10 to 
put in an appearance. On that day he condemns them as contu- 
macious heretics, declares them deprived of all lands and honors, 
and subject to the canonical and civil penalties of heresy. To ex- 
ecute the sentence was not so easy, but in 1356 Innocent offered 
Louis, King of Hungary, who had shown his zeal against the Ca- 

* Martene Thesaur. II. 743-5.— Wadding, ann. 1324, No. 28; ann. 1326, No. 
8 ; ann. 1327, No. 2.— Ripoll II. 172 ; VII. 60.— Regest. Clement. PP. V., Romas, 
1885, T. I. Proleg. p. ccxiii. — Theiner Monument. Hibern. et Scotor. No. 462, 
p. 234.— C. 4, Septimo v. 3.— Mag. Bull. Rom. I. 204.— Baluz. et Mansi III. 227.— 
UghellilV. 294-5, 314.— Raynald. ann. 1362, No. 13; ann. 1363, No. 2,4; ann. 
1372, No. 1 ; ann. 1373, No. 10, 12. 

In spite of the decision of Benedict, Matteo and his sons, Galeazzo, Marco, and 
Stefano, were still unburied in 1353, when the remaining brother, Giovanni, made 
another effort to secure Christian sepulture for them.- -Raynald. ann. 1353, No. 28. 

t Raynald. ann. 1348, No. 13-14; ann i350, No. 5.— Muratori Antiq. VII. 
884, 928-32. 


thari of Bosnia, three years' tithe of the Hungarian churches if he 
would put down those sons of damnation, the Maflredi, who have 
been sentenced as heretics, and other adversaries of the Church, 
including the Ordelaffi of Friuli. Fra Fortanerio, Patriarch of 
Grado, was also commissioned to preach a crusade against them, 
and succeeded in raising an army under Malatesta of Rimini. The 
appearance of forty thousand Hungarians in the Tarvisina fright- 
ened all Italy ; the Maffredi succumbed, and in the same year In- 
nocent ordered their absolution and reconciliation.* 

It would be easy to multiply instances, but these will probably 
suffice to show the use made by the Church of heresy as a politi- 
cal agent, and of the Inquisition as a convenient instrumentality 
for its application. When the Great Schism arose it was natural 
that the same methods should be employed by the rival popes 
against each other. As early as 1382 we find Charles III. of Xa- 
ples confiscating the property of the Bishop of Trivento, just dead, 
as that of a heretic because he had adhered to Clement VII. In 
the commission issued in 1409 by Alexander Y. to Pons Feugeyron, 
as Inquisitor of Provence, the adherents of Gregory XII. and of 
Benedict XIII. are enumerated among the heretics whom he is to 
exterminate. It happened that Frere Etienne de Combes, Inquisi- 

* Werunsky Excerptt. ex Registt. Clem. VI. et Innoc. VI. pp. 37, 74, 87, 101. — 
Wadding, aim. 1356, No. 7, 20.— Raynald. ann. 1356, No. 33. 

This abuse of spiritual power for purposes of territorial aggrandizement did 
not escape the trenchant satire of Erasmus. He describes " the terrible thunder- 
bolt which by a nod will send the souls of mortals to the deepest hell, and which 
the vicars of Christ discharge with special wrath on those who, instigated by the 
devil, seek to nibble at the Patrimony of Peter. It is thus they call the cities and 
territories and revenues for which they fight with fire and sword, spilling much 
Christian blood, and they believe themselves to be defending like apostles the 
spouse of Christ, the Church, by driving away those whom they stigmatize as 
her enemies, as if she could have any worse enemies than impious pontiffs." — 
Encom. Moriae. Ed. Lipsiens. 1829, II. 379. 

That the character of these papal wars had not been softened since the hor- 
rors described above at Ferrara, is seen in the massacre of Cesena, in 1376, when 
the papal legate, Robert, Cardinal of Geneva, ordered all the inhabitants put to 
the sword, without distinction of age or sex, after they had admitted him and 
his bandits into the city under his solemn oath that no injury should be inflicted 
on them. The number of the slain was estimated at five thousand. — Poggii 
Hist. Florentin. Lib. h. ann. 1376. 


tor of Toulouse, held to the party of Benedict XIII. , and he retali- 
ated by imprisoning a number of otherwise unimpeachable Domin- 
icans and Franciscans, including the Provincial of Toulouse and 
the Prior of Carcassonne, for which the provincial, as soon as he 
had an opportunity, removed him and appointed a successor, giv- 
ing rise to no little trouble.* 

The manner in which the Inquisition was used as an instrument 
by the contending factions in the Church is fairly illustrated by 
the adventures of John Malkaw, of Prussian Strassburg (Brodnitz). 
He was a secular priest and master of theology, deeply learned, 
skilful in debate, singularly eloquent, and unflinching even to rash- 
ness. Espousing the cause of the Roman popes against their 
Avignonese rivals with all the enthusiasm of his fiery nature, he 
came to the Phinelands in 1390, where his sermons stirred the pop- 
ular heart and proved an effective agency in the strife. After 
some severe experiences in Mainz at the hands of the opposite fac- 
tion, he undertook a pilgrimage to Pome, but tarried at Strassburg, 
where he found a congenial field. The city had adhered to Urban 

VI. and his successors, but the bishop, Frederic of Blankenheim, 
had alienated a portion of his clergy by his oppressions. In the 
quarrel he excommunicated them; they appealed to Pome and 
had the excommunication set aside, whereupon he went over, with 
his following, to Clement VII., the Avignonese antipope, giving 
rise to inextricable confusion. The situation was exactly suited to 
Malkaw's temperament ; he threw himself into the turmoil, and 
his fiery eloquence soon threatened to deprive the antipapalists of 
their preponderance. According to his own statement he quickly 
won over some sixteen thousand schismatics and neutrals, and the 
nature of his appeals to the passions of the hour may be guessed 
by his own report of a sermon in which he denounced Clement 

VII. as less than a man, as worse than the devil, whose portion 
was with Antichrist, while his followers were all condemned 
schismatics and heretics ; neutrals, moreover, were the worst of 
men and were deprived of all sacraments. Besides this he assailed 
with the same unsparing vehemence the deplorable morals of the 
Strassburg clergy, both regular and secular, and in a few weeks he 

* MSS. Chioccarello T. VIIL— Wadding, ann. 1409, No. 12.— Ripoll II. 510, 
522, 566. 


thus excited the bitterest hostility. A plot was made to denounce 
him secretly in Rome as a heretic, so that on his arrival there he 
might be seized by the Inquisition and burned; his wonderful 
learning, it was said, could only have been acquired by necro- 
mancy ; he was accused of being a runaway priest, and it was pro- 
posed to arrest him as such, but the people regarded him as an 
inspired prophet and the project was abandoned. After four weeks 
of this stormy agitation he resumed his pilgrimage, stopping at 
Basle and Zurich for missionary work, and finally reached Rome 
in safety. On his return, in crossing the Pass of St. Bernard, he 
had the misfortune to lose his papers. Xews of this reached Basle, 
and on his arrival there the Mendicants, to whom he was peculiarly 
obnoxious, demanded of Bishop Imer that he should be arrested 
as a wanderer without license. The bishop, though belonging to 
the Roman obedience, yielded, but shortly dismissed him with a 
friendly caution to return to his home. His dauntless combative- 
ness, however, carried him back to Strassburg, where he again 
began to preach under the protection of the burgomaster, John 
Bock. On his previous visit he had been personally threatened 
by the Dominican inquisitor, Bockeler — the same who in 1400 per- 
secuted the "Winkelers — and it was now determined to act with 
vigor. He had preached but three sermons when he was suddenly 
arrested, without citation, by the familiars of the inquisitor and 
thrown in prison, whence he was carried in chains to the episcopal 
castle of Benfeld and deprived of his books and paper and ink. 
Sundry examinations followed, in which his rare dexterity scarce 
enabled him to escape the ingenious efforts to entrap him. Finally, 
on March 31, 1391, Bockeler summoned an assembly, consisting 
principally of Mendicants, where he was found guilty of a series 
of charges, which show how easily the accusation of heresy could 
be used for the destruction of any man. His real offence was his 
attacks on the schismatics and on the corruption of the clergy, but 
nothing of this appears in the articles. It was assumed that he 
had left his diocese without the consent of his bishop, and this 
proved him to be a Lollard ; that he discharged priestly functions 
without a license, showing him to be a Taudois; because his ad- 
mirers ate what he had already bitten, he was declared to belong 
to the Brethren of the Free Spirit ; because he forbade the dis- 
cussion as to whether Christ was alive when pierced with the 


lance, he was asserted to have taught that doctrine, and, therefore, 
to be a follower of Jean Pierre Olivi. All this was surely enough 
to warrant his burning, if he should obstinately refuse to recant, 
but apparently it was felt that the magistracy would decline to 
execute the sentence, and the assembly contented itself with refer- 
ring the matter to the bishop and asking his banishment from the 
diocese. Nothing further is known of the trial, but as, in 1392, 
Malkaw is found matriculating himself in the University of Co- 
logne, the bishop probably did as he was asked. 

We lose sight of Malkaw until about 1414, when we meet him 
again in Cologne. He had maintained his loyalty to the Roman 
obedience, but that obedience had been still further fractioned 
between Gregory XII. and John XXIII. Malkaw's support of 
the former was accompanied with the same unsparing denuncia- 
tion of John as he had formerly bestowed on the Avignonese 
antipopes. The Johannites were heretics, fit only for the stake. 
Cologne was as attractive a field for the audacious polemic as the 
Strassburg of a quarter of a century earlier. Two rival candi- 
dates for the archbishopric were vindicating their claims in a 
bloody civil war, one of them as a supporter of Gregory, the other 
of John. Malkaw was soon recognized as a man whose eloquence 
was highly dangerous amid an excitable population, and again the 
Inquisition took hold of him as a heretic. The inquisitor, Jacob 
of Soest, a Dominican and professor in the university, seems to 
have treated him with exceptional leniency, for while the investi- 
gation was on foot he was allowed to remain in the St. Ursula 
quarter, on parole. He broke his word and betook himself to 
Bacharach, where, under the protection of the Archbishop of Treves, 
and of the Palsgrave Louis III., both Gregorians, he maintained 
the fight with his customary vehemence, assailing the inquisitor 
and the Johannites, not only in sermons, but in an incessant 
stream of pamphlets which kept them in a state of indignant 
alarm. When Cardinal John of Ragusa, Gregory's legate to the 
Council of Constance, came to Germany, Malkaw had no difficulty 
in procuring from him absolution from the inquisitorial excom- 
munication, and acquittal of the charge of heresy ; and this was 
confirmed when on healing the schism the council, in July, 1415, 
declared null and void all prosecutions and sentences arising from 
it. Still, the wounded pride of the inquisitor and of the University 


of Cologne refused to be placated, and for a year they continued 
to seek from the Council the condemnation of their enemy. Their 
deputies, however, warned them that the prosecution would be 
prolonged, difficult, and costly, and they finally came to the resolu- 
tion that the action of the Cardinal of Ragusa should be regarded 
as binding, so long as Malkaw kept away from the territory of 
Cologne, but should be disregarded if he ventured to return — a 
very sensible, if somewhat illogical, conclusion. The obstinacy 
with which Benedict XIII. and Clement VIII. maintained their 
position after the decision of the Council of Constance prolonged 
the struggle in southwestern Europe, and as late as 1428 the rem- 
nants of their adherents in Languedoc were proceeded against as 
heretics by a special papal commissioner.* 

When the schism was past the Inquisition could still be util- 
ized to quell insubordination. Thomas Connecte, a Carmelite of 
Britanny, seems to have been a character somewhat akin to John 
Malkaw. In 142 S we hear of him in Flanders, Artois, Picardy, 
and the neighboring provinces, preaching to crowds of fifteen or 
twenty thousand souls, denouncing the prevalent vices of the time. 
The hennins, or tall head-dresses worn by women of rank, were 
the object of special vituperation, and he used to give boys certain 
days of pardon for following ladies thus attired, and crying " au 
Jiennin" or even slyly pulling them off. Moved by the eloquence 
of his sermons, great piles would be made of dice, tables, chess- 
boards, cards, nine-pins, head-dresses, and other matters of vice 
and luxury, which were duly burned. The chief source, however, 
of the immense popular favor which he enjoyed was his bitter 
lashing of the corruption of all ranks of the clergy, particularly 
their public concubinage, which won him great applause and 
honor. He seems to have reached the conclusion that the only 
cure for this universal sin was the restoration of clerical marriage. 
In 1432 he went to Home in the train of the Venetian ambassa- 
dors, to declaim against the vices of the curia. Usually there was 
a good-natured indifference to these attacks — a toleration born of 
contempt — but the moment was unpropitious. The Hussite heresy 
had commenced in similar wise, and its persistence was a warning 

* H. Haupt, Zeitschrift fur Kirchengeschichte, 1883, pp. 323 sqq. — Vaissette, 
fid. Privat, X. Pr. 2089. 


not to be disregarded. Besides, at that time Eugenius IV. was 
engaged in a losing struggle with the Council of Basle, which was 
bent on reforming the curia, in obedience to the universal demand 
of Christendom, and Sigismund's envoys were representing to 
Eugenius, with more strength than courtliness, the disastrous re- 
sults to be expected from his efforts to prorogue the council. 
Connecte might well be suspected of being an emissary of the 
fathers of Basle, or, if not, his eloquence at least was a dangerous 
element in the perturbed state of public opinion. Twice Eugenius 
sent for him, but he refused to come, pretending to be sick ; then 
the papal treasurer was sent to fetch him, but on his appearing 
Thomas jumped out of the window and attempted to escape. He 
was promptly secured and carried before Eugenius, who commis- 
sioned the Cardinals of Rouen and Navarre to examine him. These 
found him suspect of heresy ; he was duly tried and condemned 
as a heretic, and his inconsiderate zeal found a lasting quietus at 
the stake.* 

There are certain points of resemblance between Thomas Con- 
necte and Girolamo Savonarola, but the Italian was a man of far 
rarer intellectual and spiritual gifts than the Breton. With equal 
moral earnestness, his plans and aspirations were wider and of 
more dangerous import, and they led him into a sphere of political 
activity in which his fate was inevitable from the beginning. 

In Italy the revival of letters, while elevating the intellectual 
faculties, had been accompanied with deeper degradation in both 
the moral and spiritual condition of society. Without removing 
superstition, it had rendered scepticism fashionable, and it had 
weakened the sanctions of religion without supplying another 
basis for morality. The world has probably never seen a more 
defiant disregard of all law, human and divine, than that dis- 
played by both the Church and the laity during the pontificates 
of Sixtus IV. and Innocent VIII. and Alexander VI. Increase 
of culture and of wealth seemed only to afford new attractions 
and enlarged opportunities for luxury and vice, and from the 
highest to the lowest there was indulgence of unbridled appetites, 

* Monstrelet, II. 53, 127.— Martene Auapi. Coll. VIII. 92.— Altmeyer, Pr6cur 
seurs de la Reforme aux Pays-Bas, I. 237. 
III.— 14 


with a cynical disregard even of hypocrisy. To the earnest be- 
liever it might well seem that God's wrath could not much longer 
be restrained, and that calamities must be impending which would 
sweep away the wicked and restore to the Church and to man- 
kind the purity and simplicity fondly ascribed to primitive ages. 
For centuries a succession of prophets — Joachim of Flora, St. 
Catharine of Siena, St. Birgitta of Sweden, the Friends of God, 
Tommasino of Foligno, the Monk Telesforo — had arisen with pre- 
dictions which had been received with reverence, and as time 
passed on and human wickedness increased, some new messenger 
of God seemed necessarv to recall his erring children to a sense of 
the retribution in store for them if they should continue deaf to 
his voice. 

That Savonarola honestly believed himself called to such a 
mission, no one who has impartially studied his strange career can 
well doubt. His lofty sense of the evils of the time, his profound 
conviction that God must interfere to work a change which was 
beyond human power, his marvellous success in moving his hearers, 
his habits of solitude and of profound meditation, his frequent 
ecstasies with their resultant visions might well, in a mind like his, 
produce such a belief, which, moreover, was one taught by the re- 
ceived traditions of the Church as within the possibilities of the 
experience of any man. Five years before his first appearance in 
Florence, a young hermit who had been devotedly serving in a 
leper hospital at Volterra, came thither, preaching and predicting 
the wrath to come. He had had visions of St. John and the angel 
Raphael, and was burdened with a message to unwilling ears. 
Such things, we are told by the diarist who happens to record 
this, were occurring every day. In 1491 Rome was agitated by a 
mysterious prophet who foretold dire calamities impending in the 
near future. There was no lack of such earnest men, but, unlike 
Savonarola, their influence and their fate were not such as to pre- 
serve their memory.* 

* Burlaraacchi, Vita di Savonarola (Baluz. et Mansi I. 533-542). — Luca Lan- 
ducci., Diario Fiorentino, Firenze, 1883, p. 30. — Stepb. Infessurae Diar. (Eccard. 
Corp. Hist. Med. ^Evi II. 2000). 

Villari shows (La Storia di Gir. Savonarola, Firenze, 1887, I. pp. viii.-xi.) 
that the life which passes under the name of Burlamacchi is a rifacimento of an 
imprinted Latin biography by a disciple of Savonarola. I take this opportunity 


When, in his thirtieth year, Savonarola came to Florence, in 
1481, his soul was already full of his mission as a reformer. Such 
opportunity as he had of expressing his convictions from the pul- 
pit he used with earnest zeal, but he produced little effect upon a 
community sunk in shameless debauchery, and in the Lent of 1486 
he was sent to Lombardy. For three years he preached in the 
Lombard cities, gradually acquiring the power of touching the 
hearts and consciences of men, and when he was recalled to Flor- 
ence in 1489, at the instance of Lorenzo de' Medici, he was already 
known as a preacher of rare ability. The effect of his vigorous 
eloquence was enhanced by his austere and blameless life, and 
within a year he was made Prior of San Marco — the convent of the 
Observantine Dominicans, to which Order he belonged. In 1494 he 
succeeded in re-establishing the ancient separation of the Domini- 
can province of Tuscany from that of Lombardy, and when he was 
appointed Yicar-general of the former he was rendered indepen- 
dent of all authority save that of the general, Giovacchino Torriani, 
who was well affected towards him.* 

He claimed to act under the direct inspiration of God, who 
dictated his words and actions and revealed to him the secrets of 
the future. Not only was this accepted by the mass of the Floren- 
tines, but by some of the keenest and most cultured intellects of 
the age, such as Francesco Pico della Mirandola and Philippe de 
Commines. Marsilio Ficino, the Platonist, admitted it, and went 
further by declaring, in 1494, that only Savonarola's holiness had 
saved Florence for four years from the vengeance of God on its 
wickedness. Nardi relates that when, in 1495, Piero de' Medici was 
making a demonstration upon Florence, he personally heard Savon- 
arola predict that Piero would advance to the gates and retire with- 
out accomplishing anything, which duly came to pass. Others of 
his prophecies were fulfilled, such as those of the deaths of Lorenzo 
de' Medici and Charles VIII. and the famine of 1497, and his fame 
spread throughout Italy, while in Florence his influence became 

of expressing my thanks to Signore Villari, for his kindly courtesy in furnishing 
me with the second volume of the new edition of his classical work in advance 
of publication. My obligations to it will be seen in the numerous references 
made to it below. 

* Processo Autentico (Baluz. et Mansi IV. 529, 551).— Burlamacchi (Baluz. 
et Mansi I. 534-5, 541-2).— Villari, op. cit. Lib. i. c. 5, 9. 


dominant. Whenever he preached, from twelve to fifteen thou- 
sand persons hung upon his lips, and in the great Duomo of Santa 
Maria del Fiore it was necessary to build scaffolds and benches 
to accommodate the thronging crowds, multitudes of whom would 
have cast themselves into fire at a word from him. He paid special 
attention to children, and interested them so deeply in his work 
that we are told they could not be kept in bed on the mornings 
when he preached, but would hurry to the church in advance of 
their parents. In the processions which he organized sometimes 
five or six thousand boys would take part, and he used them most 
effectively in the moral reforms Avhich he introduced in the disso- 
lute and pleasure-loving city. The boys of Fra Girolamo were regu- 
larly organized, with officers who had their several spheres of duty 
assigned to them, and they became a terror to evil-doers. They 
entered the taverns and gambling-houses and put a stop to revelry 
and dicing and card-playing, and no woman dared to appear upon 
the streets save in fitting attire and with a modest mien. " Here 
are the boys of the Frate" was a cry which inspired fear in the 
most reckless, for any resistance to them was at the risk of life. 
Even the annual horse-races of Santo-Barnabo were suppressed, 
and it was a sign of Girolamo's waning influence when, in 1497, 
the Signoria ordered them resumed, saying, " Are we all to become 
monks?" From the gayest and wickedest of cities Florence be- 
came the most demure, and the pious long looked back with regret 
to the holy time of Savonarola's rule, and thanked God that they 
had been allowed to see it." 

In one respect we may regret his puritanism and the zeal of 
his boys. For the profane mummeries of the carnival in 1498 he 
substituted a bonfire of objects which he deemed immodest or 
improper, and the voluntary contributions for this purpose were 
supplemented by the energy of the boys, who entered houses and 
palaces and carried off whatever they deemed fit for the holocaust. 
Precious illuminated MSS., ancient sculptures, pictures, rare tapes- 
tries, and priceless works of art thus were mingled with the gew- 

* Landucci, op. cit. pp. 72, 88, 94, 103, 108, 109, 123-8, 154.— Meraoires de 
Commines Liv. viii. c. 19. — Marsilii Ficini opp. Ed. 1561, 1. 963. — Nardi, Historie 
Florentine, Lib. n. (Ed. 15T4, pp. 58. 60). — Perrens, Jerome Savonarole, p. 342. — 
Burlamacchi (loc. cit. pp. 544-6, 552-3, 556-7). 



gaws and vanities of female attire, the mirrors, the musical instru- 
ments, the books of divination, astrology, and magic, which went 
to make up the total. We can understand the sacrifice of copies 
of Boccaccio, but Petrarch might have escaped even Savonarola's 
severity of virtue. In this ruthless auto defe, the value of the 
objects was such that a Venetian merchant offered the Signoria 
twenty thousand scudi for them, which was answered by taking 
the would-be chapman's portrait and placing it on top of the pyre. 
We cannot wonder that the pile had to be surrounded the night 
before by armed guards to prevent the tiepidi from robbing it.* 

Had Savonarola's lot been cast under the rigid institutions of 
feudalism he would probably have exercised a more lasting influ- 
ence on the moral and religious character of the age. It was his 
misfortune that in a republic such as Florence the temptation to 
take part in politics was irresistible. We cannot wonder that he 
eagerly embraced what seemed to be an opportunity of regener- 
ating a powerful state, through which he might not unreasonably 
hope to influence all Italy, and thus effect a reform in Church and 
State which would renovate Christendom. This, as he was assured 
by the prophetic voice within him, would be followed by the con- 
version of the infidel, and the reign of Christian charity and love 
would commence throughout the world. 

Misled by these dazzling day-dreams, he had no scruple in 
making a practical use of the almost boundless influence which he 
had acquired over the populace of Florence. His teachings led to 
the revolution which in 1494 expelled the Medici, and he humanely 
averted the pitiless bloodshed which commonly accompanied such 
movements in the Italian cities. During the Neapolitan expedi- 
tion of Charles VIII., in 1494, he did much to cement the alliance 
of the republic with that monarch, whom he regarded as the 
instrument destined by God to bring about the reform of Italy. 
In the reconstruction of the republic in the same year he had, per- 
haps, more to do than any one else, both in framing its structure 
and dictating its laws ; and when he induced the people to pro- 
claim Jesus Christ as the King of Florence, he perhaps himself 
hardly recognized how, as the mouthpiece of God, he was inevi- 
tably assuming the position of a dictator. It was not only in the 

* Landucci, p. 163.— Burlamacchi, pp. 558-9.— Nardi, Lib. n. pp. 56-7. 


pulpit that he instructed his auditors as to their duties as citizens 
and gave vent to his inspiration in foretelling the result, for the 
leaders of the popular party were constantly in the habit of seek- 
ing his advice and obeying his wishes. Yet, personally, for the 
most part, he held himself aloof in austere retirement, and left the 
management of details to two confidential agents, selected anions: 
the friars of San Marco — Domenico da Pescia, who was some- 
what hot-headed and impulsive, and Salvestro Maruffi, who was a 
dreamer and somnambulist. In thus descending from the position 
of a prophet of God to that of the head of a faction, popularly 
known by the contemptuous name of Piagnoni or Mourners, he 
staked his all upon the continued supremacy of that faction, and 
any failure in his political schemes necessarily was fatal to the 
larger and nobler plans of which they were the unstable founda- 
tion. In addition to this, his resolute adherence to the alliance 
with Charles VIII. finally made his removal necessary to the suc- 
cess of the policy of Alexander VI. to unite all the Italian states 
against the dangers of another French invasion.* 

As though to render failure certain, under a rule dating from 
the thirteenth century, the Signoria was changed every two 
months, and thus reflected every passing gust of popular passion. 
'When the critical time came evervthing turned against him. 
The alliance with France, on which he had staked his credit both 
as a statesman and a prophet, resulted disastrously. Charles YIII. 
was glad at Fornovo to cut his way back to France with shattered 
forces, and he never returned, in spite of the threats of God's wrath 
which Savonarola repeatedly transmitted to him. He not only 
left Florence isolated to face the league of Spain, the papacy, 
Yenice, and Milan, but he disappointed the dearest wish of the 
Florentines by violating his pledge to restore to them the strong- 
hold of Pisa. When the news of this reached Florence, Januarv 
1, 1496, the incensed populace held Savonarola responsible, and a 
crowd around San Marco at night amused itself with loud threats 
to burn " the great hog of a Frate." Besides this was the severe 
distress occasioned bv the shrinking of trade and commerce in the 
civic disturbances, by the large subsidies paid to Charles YIII., and 

* Villari, Lib. n. cap. iv. v.; T. II. App. p. ccxx. — Landucci, pp. 92-4, 112. — 
Processo Autentico (Baluze et Mansi IV. 531, 554, 558). 


by the drain of the Pisan war, leading to insupportable taxation 
and the destruction of public credit, to all which was added the 
fearful famine of 1497, followed by pestilence ; such a succession 
of misfortunes naturally made the unthinking masses dissatisfied 
and ready for a change. The Arrabbiati, or faction in opposition, 
were not slow to take advantage of this revulsion of feeling, and 
in this they were supported by the dangerous classes and by 
all those on whom the puritan reform had pressed heavily. An 
association was formed, known as the Compagnacci, composed of 
reckless and dissolute young nobles and their retainers, with Doffo 
Spini at their head and the powerful house of Altoviti behind 
them, whose primary object was Savonarola's destruction, and 
who were ready to resort to desperate measures at the first favor- 
able opportunity.* 

Such opportunity could not fail to come. Had Savonarola 
contented himself with simply denouncing the corruptions of the 
Church and the curia he would have been allowed to exhale his 
indignation in safety, as St. Birgitta, Chancellor Gerson, Cardinal 
d'Ailly, Nicholas de Clemangis, and so many others among the 
most venerated ecclesiastics had done. Pope and cardinal Avere 
used to reviling, and endured it with the utmost good-nature, so 
long as profitable abuses were not interfered with, but Savonarola 
had made himself a political personage of importance/ whose in- 
fluence at Florence was hostile to the policy of the Borgias. Still, 
Alexander VI. treated him with good-natured indifference which 
for a while almost savored of contempt. When at last his im- 
portance was recognized, an attempt was made to bribe him with 
the archbishopric of Florence and the cardinalate, but the offer 
was spurned with prophetic indignation — " I want no hat but that 
of martyrdom, reddened with my own blood I" It was not till 
July 21, 1495, after Charles VIII. had abandoned Italy and left 
the Florentines to face single-handed the league of which the 
papacy was the head, that any antagonism was manifested tow- 
ards him, and then it assumed the form of a friendly summons to 
Rome to give an account of the revelations and prophecies which 
he had from God. To this he replied, July 31, excusing himself 

* Landucci, pp. 110, 112, 122. — Villari, I. 473. — Mgmoires de Commines, Liv. 
vin. ch. 19.— Processo Autentico (loc. cit. pp. 524, 541).— Perrens, p. 342. 


on the ground of severe fever and dysentery ; the republic, more- 
over, would not permit him to leave its territories for fear of his 
enemies, as his life had already been attempted by both poison and 
steel, and he never quitted his convent without a guard ; besides, 
the unfinished reforms in the city required his presence. As soon 
as possible, however, he would come to Rome, and meanwhile the 
pope would find what he wanted in a book now printing, contain- 
ing his prophecies on the renovation of the Church and the de- 
struction of Italy, a copy of which would be submitted to the holy 
father as soon as ready. * 

However lightly Savonarola might treat this missive, it was a 
warning not to be disregarded, and for a while he ceased preaching. 
Suddenly, on September 8, Alexander returned to the charge with 
a bull intrusted to the rival Franciscans of Santa Croce, in which he 
ordered the reunion of the Tuscan congregation with the Lombard 
province ; Savonarola's case was submitted to the Lombard Yicar 
general, Sebastiano de Madiis ; Domenico da Pescia and Salvestro 
Maruffi were required within eight days to betake themselves to 
Bologna, and Savonarola was commanded to cease preaching until 
he should present himself in Rome. To this Savonarola replied 
September 29, in a labored justification, objecting to Sebastiano as 
a prejudiced and suspected judge, and winding up with a request 
that the pope should point out any errors in his teaching, which 
he would at once revoke, and submit whatever he had spoken or 
written to the judgment of the Holy See. Almost immediately 
after this the enterprise of Piero de' Medici against Florence ren- 
dered it impossible for him to keep silent, and, without awaiting 
the papal answer, on October 11 he ascended the pulpit and ve- 
hemently exhorted the people to unite in resisting the tyrant. 
In spite of this insubordination Alexander was satisfied with Sa- 
vonarola's nominal submission, and on October 16 replied, merely 
ordering him to preach no more in public or in private until he 
could conveniently come to Rome, or a fitting person be sent to 
Florence to decide his case ; if he obeyed, then all the papal briefs 
were suspended. To Alexander the whole affair was simply one 
of politics. The position of Florence under Savonarola's influence 

* Guicciardini Lib. in. c. 6. — Burlamacchi, p. 551. — Villari, T. I. pp. civ.-cvii. 
-Landucci, p. 106. 


was hostile to his designs, but he did not care to push the matter 
further, provided he could diminish the Frate's power by silencing 

His voice, however, was too potent a factor in Florentine af- 
fairs for his friends in power to consent to his silence. Long and 
earnest efforts were made to obtain permission from the pope that 
he should resume his exhortations during the coming Lent, and 
at length the request was granted. The sermons on Amos which 
he then delivered were not of a character to placate the curia, for, 
besides lashing its vices with terrible earnestness, he took pains to 
indicate that there were limits to the obedience which he would 
render to the papal commands. These sermons produced an im- 
mense sensation, not only in Florence, but throughout Italy, and 
on Easter Sunday, April 3, 1496, Alexander assembled fourteen 
Dominican masters of theology, to whom he denounced their auda- 
cious comrade as heretical, schismatic, disobedient, and superstitious. 
It was admitted that he was responsible for the misfortunes of 
Piero de' Medici, and it was resolved, with but one dissentient voice, 
that means must be found to silence him.f 

Notwithstanding this he continued, without interference, to 
preach at intervals until November 2. Even then it is a signifi- 
cant tribute to his power that Alexander again had recourse to 
indirect means to suppress him. On November 7, 1496, a papal 
brief was issued creating a congregation of Rome and Tuscany 
and placing it under a Vicar-general who was to serve for two 
years, and be ineligible to reappointment except after an interval. 
Although the first Vicar-general was Giacomo di Sicilia, a friend 
of Savonarola, the measure was ingeniously framed to deprive him 
of independence, and he might at any moment be transferred from 
Florence to another post. To this Savonarola replied with open 
defiance. In a printed "Apologia della Congregazione di San 
Marco" he declared that the two hundred and fifty friars of his 
convent would resist to the death, in spite of threats and excom- 
munication, a measure which would result in the perdition of their 
souls. This was a declaration of open war, and on November 26 

* Villari, I. 402-7. — Landucci, p. 120. — Diar. Johann. Burchardi (Eccard, 
Corp. Hist. II. 2151-9). 

t Villari, I. 417, 441-5.— Landucci, pp. 125-9.— Perrens, p. 361. 


he boldly resumed preaching. The series of sermons on Ezekiel, 
which he then commenced and continued through the Lent of 
1497, shows clearly that he had abandoned all hope of reconcilia- 
tion with the pope. The Church was worse than a beast, it was 
an abominable monster which must be purified and renovated by 
the servants of God, and in this work excommunication was to be 
welcomed. To a great extent, moreover, these sermons were politi- 
cal speeches, and indicate how absolutely Savonarola from the 
pulpit dictated the municipal affairs of Florence. The city had 
been reduced almost to despair in the unequal contest with Pisa, 
Milan, Venice, and the papacy, but the close of the year 1496 had 
brought some unexpected successes which seemed to justify Sa- 
vonarola's exhortations to trust in God, and with the reviving 
hopes of the republic his credit was to some extent restored.* 

Still Alexander, though his wrath was daily growing, shrank 
from an open rupture and trial of strength, and an effort was made 
to utilize against Savonarola the traditional antagonism of the 
Franciscans. The Observantine convent of San Miniato was made 
the centre of operations, and thither were sent the most renowned 
preachers of the Order — Domenico da Poza, Michele d' Aquis, 
Giovanni Tedesco, Giacopo da Brescia, and Francesco della Puglia. 
It is true that when, January 1, 1497, the Piagnoni, strengthened 
by recent successes in the field, elected Francesco Yalori as Gon- 
faloniero di Giustizia, he endeavored to stop the Franciscans from 
preaching, prohibited them from begging bread and wine and 
necessaries, and boasted that he would starve them out, and one 
of them was absolutely banished from the city, but the others per- 
severed, and Savonarola was freely denounced as an impostor from 
the pulpit of Santo-Spirito during Lent. Yet this had no effect 
upon his followers, and his audiences were larger and more enthu- 
siastic than ever. Xo better success awaited a nun of S. Maria 
di Casignano, who came to Florence on the same errand.f 

The famine was now at its height, and pestilence became 
threatening. The latter gave the Signoria, which was now com- 
posed of Arrabbiati, an excuse for putting a stop to this pulpit war- 
fare, which doubtless menaced the peace of the city, and on May 3 

• Villari, I. 489, 492-4, 496, 499, cxlii. ; II. 4-6. 

t Processo Autentico, pp. 533-4. — Perrens, pp. 189-90. — Landucci, pp. 144-6. 


all preaching after Ascension Day (May 4) was forbidden for the 
reason that, with the approach of summer, crowds would facilitate 
the dissemination of the plague. That passions were rising beyond 
control was shown when, the next day, Savonarola preached his 
farewell sermon in the Duomo. The doors had been broken open 
in advance, and the pulpit was smeared with filth. The Com- 
pagnacci had almost openly made preparations to kill him ; they 
gathered there in force, and interrupted the discourse with a tu- 
mult, during which the Frate's friends gathered around him with 
drawn swords and conveyed him away in safety.* 

The affair made an immense sensation throughout Italy, and 
the sympathies of the Signoria were shown by the absence of any 
attempt to punish the rioters. Encouraged by this evidence of the 
weakness of the Piagnoni, on May 13 Alexander sent to the Fran- 
ciscans a bull ordering them to publish Savonarola as excommuni- 
cate and suspect of heresy, and that no one should hold converse 
with him. This, owing to the fears of the papal commissioner 
charged with it, was not published till June 18. Before the exist- 
ence of the bull was known, on May 22, Savonarola had written to 
Alexander an explanatory letter, in which he offered to submit 
himself to the judgment of the Church ; but two days after the ex- 
communication was published he replied to it with a defence in 
which he endeavored to prove that the sentence was invalid, and 
on June 25 he had the audacity to address to Alexander a letter of 
condolence on the murder of his son, the Duke of Gandia. Fort- 
unately for him another revulsion in municipal politics restored 
his friends to power on July 1, the elections till the end of the year 
continued favorable, and he did not cease to receive and administer 
the sacraments, though, under the previous orders of the Signoria, 
there was no preaching. It must be borne in mind that at this 
period there was a spirit of insubordination abroad which regarded 
the papal censures with slender respect. We have seen above 
(Yol. II. p. 137) that in 1502 the whole clergy of France, acting 
under a decision of the University of Paris, openly defied an ex- 
communication launched at them by Alexander VI. It was the 
same now in Florence. How little the Piagnoni recked of the ex- 
communication is seen by a petition presented September 17 to 

* Landucci, p. 148,— Villari, II. 18-25. 


the Signoria, by the children of Florence, asking that their beloved 
Frate be allowed to resume preaching, and by a sermon delivered 
in his defence, October 1, by a Carmelite who declared that in a vis- 
ion God had told him that Savonarola was a holy man, and that all 
his opponents would have their tongues torn out and be cast to the 
dogs. This was flat rebellion against the Holy See, but the only 
punishment inflicted on the Carmelite by the episcopal officials was 
a prohibition of further preaching. Meanwhile the Signoria had 
made earnest but vain attempts to have the excommunication re- 
moved, and Savonarola had indignantly refused an offer of the 
Cardinal of Siena (afterwards Pius III.) to have it withdrawn on 
the payment of five thousand scudi to a creditor of his. Yet. in 
spite of this disregard of the papal censures, Savonarola considered 
himself as still an obedient son of the Church. He employed the 
enforced leisure of this summer in writing the Trionfo delta Croce, 
in which he proved that the papacy is supreme, and that whoever 
separates himself from the unity and doctrine of Rome separates 
himself from Christ.* 

January, 1498, saw the introduction of a Signoria composed of 
his zealous partisans, who were not content that a voice so potent 
should be hushed. It was an ancient custom that thev should go 
in a body and make oblations at the Duomo on Epiphany, which 
was the anniversary of the Church, and on that day citizens of all 
parties were astounded at seeing the still excommunicated Savon- 
arola as the celebrant, and the officials humbly kiss his hand. Xot 
content with this act of rebellion, it was arranged that he should 
recommence preaching. A new Signoria was to be elected for 
March, the people were becoming divided in their allegiance to 
him. and his eloquence was held to be indispensable for his own 
safety and for the continuance in power of the Piagnoni. Ac- 
cordingly, on February 11 he again appeared in the Duomo, where 
the old benches and scaffolds had been replaced to accommodate 
the crowd. Yet many of the more timid Piagnoni abstained from 
listening to an excommunicate : whether just or unjust, they ar- 
gued, the sentence of the Church was to be feared, f 

* Yillari, II. 25-8, 35-6,79; App. xxxix. — Processo Autentico, p. 535. — Lan- 
ducci, pp. 152-3, 157. 

t Landucci, pp. 161-2.— Machiavelli, Framinenti istorici (Opere Ed. 1782, II. 


In the sermons on Exodus preached during this Lent — the last 
which he had the opportunity of uttering — Savonarola was more 
violent than ever. His position was such that he could only justify 
himself by proving that the papal anathema was worthless, and this 
he did in terms which excited the liveliest indignation in Rome. 
A brief was despatched to the Signoria, February 26, commanding 
them, under pain of interdict, to send Savonarola as a prisoner to 
Rome. This received no attention, but at the same time another 
letter was sent to the canons of the Duomo ordering them to close 
their church to him, and March 1 he appeared there to say that 
he would preach at San Marco, whither the crowded audience fol- 
lowed him. His fate, however, was sealed the same day by the 
advent to power of a government composed of a majority of Ar- 
rabbiati, with one of his bitterest enemies, Pier Popoleschi, at its 
head as Gonfaloniero di Giustizia. Yet he was too powerful with 
the people to be openly attacked, and occasion for his ruin had 
to be awaited.* 

The first act of the new Signoria was an appeal to the pope, 
March 4, excusing themselves for not obeying his orders and ask- 
ing for clemency towards Savonarola, whose labors had been so 
fruitful, and whom the people of Florence believed to be more 
than man. Possibly this may have been insidiously intended to 
kindle afresh the papal anger ; at all events, Alexander's reply 
shows that he recognized fully the advantage of the situation. 
Savonarola is "that miserable worm" who in a sermon recently 
printed had adjured God to deliver him to hell if he should apply 
for absolution. The pope will waste no more time in letters ; he 
wants no more words from them, but acts. They must either send 
their monstrous idol to Rome, or segregate him from all human 
society, if they wish to escape the interdict which will last until 
they submit. Yet Savonarola is not to be perpetually silenced, 
but, after due humiliation, his mouth shall be again opened.f 

This reached Florence March 13 and excited a violent discus- 
sion. We have seen that an interdict inflicted by the pope might 

* Landucci, p. 164.— Perrens, p. 231.— Villari, II. App. lxvi. 
+ Perrens, pp. 232-5, 365-72. Cf. Villari, II. 115. 

The obnoxious appeal to God had really been made by Savonarola in his ser- 
mon of February 11 (Villari, II. 88). 


be not merely a deprivation of spiritual privileges, but that it might 
comprehend segregation from the outside world and seizure of 
person and property wherever found, which was ruin to a commer- 
cial community. The merchants and bankers of Florence received 


from their Roman correspondents the most alarming accounts of 
the papal wrath and of his intention to expose their property to 
pillage. Fear took possession of the city, as rumors spread from 
day to day that the dreaded interdict had been proclaimed. It 
shows the immense influence still wielded by Savonarola that, 
after earnest discussions and various devices, the Signoria could 
only bring itself, March IT, to send to him five citizens at night to 
beg him to suspend preaching for the time. He had promised that, 
while he would not obey the pope, he would respect the wishes of 
the civil power, but when this request reached him he replied that 
he must first seek the will of Him who had ordered him to preach. 
The next day, from the pulpit of San Marco, he gave his answer — 
" Listen, for this is what the Lord saith : In asking this Frate to 
give up preaching it is to Me that the request is made, and not to 
him, for it is I who preach ; it is I who grant the request and who 
do not grant it. The Lord assents as regards the preaching, but 
not as regards your salvation." * 

It was impossible to yield more awkwardly or in a manner 
more convincing of self-deception, and Savonarola's enemies grew 
correspondingly bold. The Franciscans thundered triumphantly 
from the pulpits at their command ; the disorderly elements, 
wearied with the rule of righteousness, commenced to agitate for 
the license which they con Id see was soon to be theirs. Profane 
scoffers commenced to ridicule the Frate openly in the streets, and 
within a week placards were posted on the walls urging the burn- 
ing of the palaces of Francesco Yalori and Paolo Antonio Sode- 
rini, two of his leading supporters. The agents of the Duke of 
Milan were not far wrong when they exultingly wrote to him pre- 
dicting the speedy downfall of the Frate, by fair means or foul.f 

Just at this juncture there came to light a desperate expedient 
to which Savonarola had recourse. After giving Alexander fair 
warning, March 13, to look to his safety, for there could no longer 

* Perrens, pp. 237, 238.— Landucci, pp. 164-66. 
f Landucci, p. 166. — Villari, U. App. pp. lviii.-lxii. 


be truce between them, Savonarola appealed to the sovereigns of 
Christendom, in letters purporting to be written under the direct 
command of God and in his name, calling upon the monarchs to 
convoke a general council for the reformation of the Church. It 
was diseased, from the highest to the lowest, and on account of its 
intolerable stench God had not permitted it to have a lawful head. 
Alexander VI. was not pope and was not eligible to the papacy, 
not only by reason of the simony through which he had bought 
the tiara, and the wickedness which, when exposed, would excite 
universal execration, but also because he was not a Christian, and 
not even a believer in God. All this Savonarola offered to prove by 
evidence and by miracles which God would execute to convince the 
most sceptical. This portentous epistle, with trifling variants, was 
to be addressed to the Kings of France, Spain, England, and Hun- 
gary, and to the emperor. A preliminary missive from Domenico 
Mazzinghi to Giovanni Guasconi, Florentine Ambassador in France, 
happened to be intercepted by the Duke of Milan, who was hostile 
to Savonarola, and who promptly forwarded it to the pope.* 

Alexander's wrath can easily be conceived. It was not so 
much the personal accusations, which he was ready to dismiss with 
cynical indifference, as the effort to bring about the convocation of 
a council which, since those of Constance and Basle, had ever been 
the cry of the reformer and the terror of the papacy. In the ex- 
isting discontent of Christendom it was an ever-present danger. 
So recently as 1482 the half-crazy Andreas, Archbishop of Krain, 
had set all Europe in an uproar by convoking from Basle a council 
on his own responsibility, and defying for six months, under the 
protection of the magistrates, the efforts of Sixtus IY. and the 
anathemas of the inquisitor, Henry Institoris, until Frederic III., 
after balancing awhile, had him thrown into jail. In the same year, 
1482, Ferdinand and Isabella, by the threat of calling a council, 
brought Sixtus to renounce the claim of filling the sees of Spain 
with his own creatures. In 1495 a rumor was current that the 
emperor was about to cite the pope to a council to be held in 

* Villari, II. 129, 132-5; App. pp. lxviii -lxxi., clxxi. — Baluz. et Mansi I. 
584-5.— Perrens. pp. 373-5.— Burlamacchi, p. 551.— In his confession of May 21, 
Savonarola stated that the idea of the council had only suggested itself to him 
three months previously (Villari, II. App. cxcii.). 


Florence. Some vears earlier the rebellious Cardinal Giuliano 
della Kovere, who had fled to France, persistently urged Charles 
VIII. to assemble a general council ; in 14:97 Charles submitted 
the question to the University of Paris, and the University pro- 
nounced in its favor. Wild as was Savonarola's notion that he 
could, single-handed, stimulate the princes to such action, it was, 
nevertheless, a dart aimed at the mortal spot of the papacy, and 
the combat thereafter was one in which no quarter could be given.* 
The end, in fact, was inevitable, but it came sooner and more 
dramatically than the shrewdest observer could have anticipated. 
It is impossible, amid the conflicting statements of friends and 
foes, to determine with positiveness the successive steps leading to 
the strange Sperimento del Fuoco which was the proximate occa- 
sion of the catastrophe, but it probably occurred in this wise : 
Fra Girolamo being silenced, Domenico da Pescia took his place. 
Matters were clearly growing desperate, and in his indiscreet zeal 
Domenico offered to prove the truth of his master's cause by 
throwing himself from the roof of the Palazzo de' Signori, by cast- 
ing himself into the river, or by entering fire. Probably this was 
only a rhetorical flourish without settled purpose, but the Francis- 
can, Francesco della Puglia, who was preaching with much effect 
at the Church of Santa-Croce, took it up and offered to share the 
ordeal with Fra Girolamo. The latter, however, refused to under- 
take it unless a papal legate and ambassadors from all Christian 
princes could be present, so that it might be made the commence- 
ment of a general reform in the Church. Fra Domenico then 
accepted the challenge, and on March 27 or 28 he caused to be 
affixed to the portal of Santa-Croce a paper in which he offered to 
prove, by argument or miracle, these propositions : I. The Church 

* Landucci, p. 113. — Chron. Glassberger ann. 1482. — Raynald. ann. 1492, No. 
25. — Pulgar, Cronica de los Reyes Catolicos, ii. civ. — Comba, La Riforma in 
Italia, I. 491.— Nardi, Lib. n. (p. 79). 

The contemporary Glassberger says of Andreas of Krain's attempt, " Nisi 
enim auctoritas imperatoris intervenisset maximum in ecclesia schisma subortum 
fuisset. Omnes enim aeinuli domini papae ad domini imperatoris consensum 
respiciebant pro concilio celebrando." A year's imprisonment in chains ex- 
hausted the resolution of Andreas, who executed a solemn recantation of his in- 
vectives against the Holy See. This was sent with a petition for pardon to 
Sixtus IV., who granted it, but before the return of the messengers the unhappy 
reformer hanged himself in his cell (ubi sup. ann. 1483). 


of God requires renovation ; II. The Church is to be scourged ; 
III. The Church will be renovated ; IV. After chastisement Flor 
ence will be renovated and will prosper; V. The infidel will be 
converted ; VI. The excommunication of Fra Girolamo is void ; 
VII. There is no sin in not observing the excommunication. Fra 
Francesco reasonably enough said that most of these propositions 
were incapable of argument, but, as a demonstration was desired, 
he would enter fire with Fra Domenico, although he fully expected 
to be burned ; still, he was willing to make the sacrifice in order 
to liberate the Florentines from their false idol.* 

Passions were fierce on both sides, and eager partisans kept 
the city in an uproar. To prevent an outbreak the Signoria sent 
for both disputants and caused them to enter into a written agree- 
ment, March 30, to undergo this strange trial. Three hundred 
years earlier it would have seemed reasonable enough, but the 
Council of Lateran, in 1215, had reprobated ordeals of all kinds, 
and they had been definitely marked with the ban of the Church. 
When it came to the point Fra Francesco said that he had no 
quarrel with Domenico ; that if Savonarola would undergo the 
trial, he was ready to share it, but with any one else he would only 
produce a champion — and one was readily found in the person of 
Fra Giuliano Rondinelh, a noble Florentine of the Order. On the 
other side, all the friars of San Marco, nearly three hundred in 
number, signed the agreement pledging to submit themselves to 
the ordeal, and Savonarola declared that in such a cause any one 
could do so without risk. So great was the enthusiasm that when, 
on the day before the trial, he preached on the subject in San- 
Marco, all the audience rose in mass, and offered to take Domeni- 
co's place in vindicating the truth. The conditions prescribed by 
the Signoria were, that if the Dominican champion perished, 
whether alone or with his rival, Savonarola should leave the city 
until officially recalled ; if the Franciscan alone succumbed, then 
Fra Francesco should do likewise ; and the same was decreed for 
either side that should decline the ordeal at the last moment.f 

* Burlamacchi, p. 559. — Landucci, pp. 166-7. — Processo Autentico, pp. 535-7. 
— Villari, II. App. lxxi. sqq. 

t Landucci, pp. 167-8.— Processo Autentico, pp. 536-8.— Villari, II. App. 

III.— 15 


The Signoria appointed ten citizens to conduct the trial, and 
fixed it for April 6, but postponed it for a day in hopes of receiv- 
ing from the pope a negative answer to an application for per- 
mission — a refusal which came, but came too late, possibly delayed 
on purpose. On April T, accordingly, the preparations were com- 
pleted. In the Piazza de' Signori a huge pile of dry wood was 
built the height of a man's eyes, with a central gangway through 
which the champions were to pass. It was plentifully supplied 
with gunpowder, oil, sulphur, and spirits, to insure the rapid spread 
of the flames, and when lighted at one end the contestants were 
•to enter at the other, which was to be set on fire behind them, so 
as to cut off all retreat. An immense mass of earnest spectators 
filled the piazza, and every window and house-top was crowded. 
These were mostly partisans of Savonarola, and the Franciscans 
were cowed until cheered by the arrival of the Compagnacci, the 
young nobles fully armed on the'r war-horses, and each accom- 
panied b} r eight or ten retainers — some five hundred in all, with 
Doffo Spini at their head.* 

First came on the scene the Franciscans, anxious and terrified. 
Then marched in procession the Dominicans, about two hundred 
in number, chanting psalms. Both parties went before the Sig- 
noria, when the Franciscans, professing fear of magic arts, de- 
manded that Domenico should change his garments. Although 
this was promptly acceded to, and both champions were clothed 
anew, considerable time was consumed in the details. The Domini- 
cans claimed that Domenico should be allowed to carry a crucifix in 
his right hand and a consecrated wafer in his left. An objection 
being made to the crucifix he agreed to abandon it, but was un- 
moved by the cry of horror with which the proposition as to the 
host was received. Savonarola was firm. It had been revealed 
to Fra Salvestro that the sacrament was indispensable, and the 
matter was hotly disputed until the shades of evening fell, when 
the Signoria announced that the ordeal was abandoned, and the 
Franciscans withdrew, followed by the Dominicans. The crowd 
which had patiently waited through torrents of rain, and a storm 
in which the air seemed filled with howling demons, were enraged 

* Perrens, pp. 379-81. — Burlamacchi, pp. 560, 562. — Landucci, p. 163. — Pro- 
cesso Autentico, pp. 540-1. 


at the loss of the promised spectacle, and a heavy armed escort 
was necessary to convey the Dominicans in safety back to San 
Marco. Had the matter been one with which reason had any- 
thing to do, we might perhaps wonder that it was regarded as a 
triumph for the Franciscans ; but Savonarola had so confidently 
promised a miracle, and had been so implicitly believed by his 
followers, that they accepted the drawn battle as a defeat, and as 
a confession that he could not rely on the interposition of God. 
Their faith in their prophet was shaken, while the exultant Com- 
pagnacci lavished abuse on him, and they had not a word to utter 
in his defence.* 

His enemies were prompt in following up their advantage. 
The next day was Palm Sunday. The streets were full of tri- 
umphant Arrabbiati, and such Piagnoni as showed themselves 
were pursued with jeers and pelted with stones. At vespers, the 
Dominican Mariano de' Ughi attempted to preach in the Duomo, 
which was crowded, but the Compagnacci were there in force, in- , 
terrupted the sermon, ordered the audience to disperse, and those 
who resisted were assailed and wounded. Then arose the cry, 
" To San Marco !" and the crowd hurried thither. Already the 
doors of the Dominican church had been surrounded by boys 
whose cries disturbed the service within, and who, when ordered 
to be silent, had replied with showers of stones which compelled 
the entrance to be closed. As the crowd surged around, the wor- 
shippers were glad to escape with their lives through the cloisters. 
Francesco Yalori and Paolo Antonio Soderini were there in con- 
sultation with Savonarola. Soderini made good his exit from the 
city ; Yalori was seized while skirting the walls, and carried in 
front of his palace, which had already been attacked by the Com- 
pagnacci. Before his eyes, his wife, who was pleading with the 
assailants from a window, was slain with a missile, one of his 
children and a female servant were wounded, and the palace was 
sacked and burned, after which he was struck from behind raid 
killed by his enemies of the families Tornabuoni and Kidolfi. 

* Landucci, pp. 168-9.— Processo Autentico, p. 542.— Burlamacchi, p. 563.— 
Villari, II. App. pp. lxxv.-lxxx., lxxxiii.-xc— Guicciardini, Lib. in. c. 6. 

The good Florentines did not fail to point out that the sudden death of 
Charles VIII., on this same April 7, was a visitation upon hirn for having aban- 
doned Savonarola and the republic. — Nardi, Lib. n. p. 80. 


Two other houses of Savonarola's partisans were likewise pillaged 
and burned.* 

In the midst of the uproar there came forth successive procla- 
mations from the Signoria ordering Savonarola to quit the Flor- 
entine territories within twelve hours, and all laymen to leave the 
church of San Marco within one hour. Although these were fol- 
lowed by others threatening death to any one entering the church, 
they virtually legalized the riot, showing what had doubtless been 
the secret springs that set it in motion. The assault on San Marco 
then became a regular siege. Matters had for some time looked 
so threatening that during the past fortnight the friars had been 
secretly providing themselves with arms. These they and their 
friends used gallantly, even against the express commands of 
Savonarola, and a melee occurred in which more than a hundred 
on both sides were killed and wounded. At last the Signoria 
sent guards to capture Savonarola and his principal aids, Do- 
menico and Salvestro, with a pledge that no harm should be done 
to them. Resistance ceased ; the two former were found in the 
library, but Salvestro had hidden himself, and was not captured 
till the next day. The prisoners were ironed hand and foot and 
carried through the streets, where their guards could not protect 
them from kicks and buffets by the raging mob.f 

The next day there was comparative quiet. The revolution in 
which the aristocracy had allied itself with the dangerous classes 
was complete. The Piagnoni were thoroughly cowed. Oppro- 
brious epithets were freely lavished on Savonarola by the victors, 
and any one daring to utter a word in his defence would have 
been slain on the spot. To render the triumph permanent, how- 
ever, it was necessary first to discredit him utterly with the peo- 
ple and then to despatch him. Xo time was lost in preparing to 
give a judicial appearance to the foregone conclusion. During 
the dav a tribunal of seventeen members selected from among: 
his special enemies, such as Doffo Spini, was nominated, which 
set promptly to work on April 10, although its formal commis- 
sion, including power to use torture, was not made out until the 

* Landucci, p. 170. — Processo Auteutico, pp. 534, 543. — Burlamacchi, p. 564. 
+ Landucci, p. 171. — Processo Autentico, pp. 544. 549. — Burlamacchi, p. 564. 
— Nardi, Lib. it. p. 78. — Villain, II. 173-77; App. pp. xciv.. ccxxv., ccxxxiii. 


11th. Papal authority to disregard the clerical immunity of the 
prisoners was applied for, but the proceedings were not delayed 
by waiting for the answer, which, of course, was favorable, and 
two papal commissioners were adjoined to the tribunal. Savona- 
rola and his companions, still ironed hand and foot, were carried 
to the Bargello. The official account states that he was first in- 
terrogated kindly, but as he would not confess he was threatened 
with torture, and this proving ineffectual he was subjected to 
three and a half tratti di fune. This was a customary form of 
torture, known as the strappado, which consisted in tying the 
prisoner's hands behind his back, then hoisting him by a rope fast- 
ened to his wrists, letting him drop from a height and arresting 
him with a jerk before his feet reached the floor. Sometimes 
heavy weights were attached to the feet to render the operation 
more severe. Officially it is stated that this first application was 
sufficient to lead him to confess freely, but the general belief at 
the time was that it was repeated with extreme severity.* 

Be this as it may, Savonarola's nervous organization was too 
sensitive for him to endure agony which he knew would be in- 
definitely prolonged by those determined to effect a predestined 
result. He entreated to be released from the torture and promised 
to reveal everything. His examination lasted until April 18, but 

* Landucci, pp. 171-2. — Villari, II. 178 ; App. p. clxv. — Processo Autentico, 
pp. 550-1. 

Violi (Villari, II. App. cxvi.-vii.) says that the torture was repeatedly applied 
— on one evening no less than fourteen times from the pulley to the floor, and 
that his arms were so injured that he was unable to feed himself; but this must 
be exaggerated in view of the pi< us treatises which he wrote while in prison. 
Burlamacchi says that he was tortured repeatedly both with cord and fire (pp. 
566, 568). Burchard, the papal prothonotary, states that he was tortured seven 
times, and Burchard was likely to know and not likely to exaggerate (Burch. 
Diar. ap. Preuves des Memoires de Commines, Bruxelles, 1706, p. 424). The ex- 
pression of Commines, who was well-informed, is " le gesnerent a merveilles" 
(Memoires, Lib. viii. ch. 19). But the most emphatic evidence is that of the Sig- 
noria, who, in answer to the reproaches of Alexander at their tardiness, declare 
that they had to do with a man of great endurance ; they had assiduously tort- 
ured him for many days with slender results, which they would suppress until 
they could force him to reveal all his secrets— " multa et assidua quaestione, mul- 
tis diebus, per vim vix pauca extorsimus, quae nunc celare animus erat donee 
omnia nobis paterent sui animi involucra^ (Villari, II. 197). 


even in his complying frame of mind the resultant confession re- 
quired to be manipulated before it could be made public. For 
this infamous piece of work a fitting instrument was at hand. 
Ser Ceccone was an old partisan of the Medici whose life had 
been saved by Savonarola's secretly giving him refuge in San 
Marco, and who now repaid the benefit by sacrificing his bene- 
factor. As a notary he was familiar with such work, and un- 
der his skilful hands the incoherent answers of Savonarola were 
moulded into a narrative which is the most abject of self -accusa- 
tions and most compromising to all his friends.* 

He is made to represent himself as being from the first a con- 
scious impostor, whose sole object was to gain power by deceiving 
the people. If his project of convoking a council had resulted in 
his being chosen pope he would not have refused the position, but 
if not he would at all events have become the foremost man in 
the world. For his own purposes he had arrayed the citizens 
against each other and caused a rupture between the city and the 
Holy See, striving to erect a government on the Venetian model, 
with Francesco Yalori as perpetual doge. The animus of the 
trial is clearly revealed in the scant attention paid to his spiritual 
aberrations, which were the sole offences for which he could be 
convicted, and the immense detail devoted to his political activity, 
and to his relations with all obnoxious citizens whom it was de- 
sired to involve in his ruin. Had there been any pretence of ob- 
serving ordinary judicial forms, the completeness with which he 
was represented as abasing himself would have overreached its 
purpose. In forcing him to confess that he was no prophet, and 
that he had always secretly believed the papal excommunication 
to be valid, he was relieved from the charge of persistent heresy, 
and he could legally be only sentenced to penance ; but, as there 

* Landucci, p. 172. — Processo Autentico, p. 550. — Perrens, pp. 267-8. — Bur- 
lamacchi, pp. 566-7. — Villari, II. 188, 193; App. cxviii.-xxi. 

It is part of the Savonarola legend that Savonarola threatened Ser Ceccone 
with death within a year if he did not remove certain interpolations from the 
confession, and that the prediction was verified, Ceccone dying within the time, 
unhouselled, and refusing in despair the consolations of religion (Burlamacchi, 
p. 575. — Violi op. Villari, II. App. cxxvii.). 

Ceccone performed the same office for the confession of Fra Domenico (Villari, 
II. App. Doc. xxvir.). 



was no intention of being restricted to legal rules, the first object 
was to discredit him with the people, after which he could be 
judicially murdered with impunity.* 

The object was thoroughly attained. On April 19, in the great 
hall of the council, the confession was publicly read in the pres- 
ence of all who might see fit to attend. The effect produced is 
well described by the honest Luca Landucci, who had been an 
earnest and devout, though timid, follower of Fra Girolamo, and 
who now grieved bitterly at the disappearance of his illusions, and 
at the shattering of the gorgeous day-dreams in which the dis- 
ciples had nursed themselves. Deep was his anguish as he lis- 
tened to the confession of one " whom we believed to be a prophet 
and who now confessed that he was no prophet, and that what he 
preached was not revealed to him by God. I was stupefied and 
my very soul was filled with grief to see the destruction of such 
an edifice, which crumbled because it was founded on a lie. I had 
expected to see Florence a new Jerusalem, whence should issue 
the laws and the splendor and the example of the holy life ; to 
see the renovation of the Church, the conversion of the infidel, and 
the rejoicing of the good. I found the reverse of all this, and I 
swallowed the dose" — a natural enough metaphor, seeing that 
Landucci was an apothecary, f 

Yet even with this the Signoria was not satisfied. On April 
21 a new trial was ordered ; Savonarola was tortured again, and 
further avowals of his political action were wrung from him,;j: 
while a general arrest was made of those who were compromised 
by his confessions, and those of Domenico and Salvestro, creating a 
terror so widespread that large numbers of his followers fled from 
the city. On the 27th the prisoners were taken to the Bargello 
and so tortured that during the whole of the afternoon their 
shrieks were heard by the passers-by, but nothing was wrung 

* Processo Autentico, pp. 551-64, 567. — Villari, II. App. cxlvii. sqq. 

Violi states that the confession as interpolated by Ceccone was printed and 
circulated by the Signoria as a justification of their action, but that it proved so 
unsatisfactory to the public that in a few days all copies were ordered by proc- 
lamation to be surrendered (Villari, II. App. p. cxiv.). 

t Landucci, p. 173. — Burlamacchi, p. 567. 

I This confession was never made public. Villari, who discovered the MS., 
has printed it, App. p. clxxv. 


from them to incriminate Savonarola. The officials in power had 
but a short time for action, as their term of office ended with the 
month, although by arbitrary and illegal devices they secured suc- 
cessors of their own party. Their last official act, on the 30th, 
was the exile of ten of the accused citizens, and the imposition on 
twenty-three of various fines, amounting in all to twelve thousand 

The new government which came in power May 1 at once dis- 
charged the imprisoned citizens, but kept Savonarola and his com- 
panions. These, as Dominicans, were not justiciable by the civil 
power, but the Signoria immediately applied to Alexander for 
authority to condemn and execute them. He refused, and ordered 
them to be delivered to him for judgment, as he had already done 
when the news reached him of Savonarola's capture. To this the 
republic demurred, doubtless for the reason privately alleged to 
the ambassador, that Savonarola was privy to too many state 
secrets to be intrusted to the Roman curia ; but it suggested that 
the pope might send commissioners to Florence to conduct the 
proceedings in his name. To this he assented. In a brief of May 
11 the Bishop of Yaison, the suffragan of the Archbishop of Flor- 
ence, is instructed to degrade the culprits from holy orders, at the 
requisition of the commissioners who had been empowered to con- 
duct the examination and trial to final sentence. In the selection 
of these commissioners the Inquisition does not appear. Even 
had it not fallen too low in popular estimation to be intrusted 
with an affair of so much moment, in Tuscany it was Franciscan, 
and to have given special authority to the existing inquisitor, 
Fra Francesco da Montalcino, would have been injudicious in view 
of the part taken by the Franciscans in the downfall of Savonarola. 
Alexander showed his customary shrewdness in selecting for the 
miserable work the Dominican general, Giovacchino Torriani, 
who bore the reputation of a kind-hearted and humane man. He 
was but a stalking-horse, however, for the real actor was his asso- 
ciate, Francesco Eomolino, a clerk of Lerida, whose zeal in the 
infamous business was rewarded with the cardinalate and arch- 
bishopric of Palermo. After all, their duties were only ministerial 

* Landucci, p. 174. — Processo Autentico, p. 563. — Villari, H. 210, 217. — Nardi, 
Lib. ii. p. 79. 


and not judicial, for the matter had been prejudged at Kome. 
Roinolino openly boasted, " We shall have a fine bonfire, for I 
bring" the sentence with me." * 

The commissioners reached Florence May 19, and lost no time 
in accomplishing their object. The only result of the papal inter- 
vention was to subject the victims to a surplusage of agony and 
shame. For form's sake, the papal judges could not accept the 
proceedings already had, but must inflict on Savonarola a third 
trial. Brought before Romolino on the 20th, he retracted his con- 
fession as extorted by torture, and asserted that he was an envoy 
of God. Under the inquisitorial formulas this retraction of con- 
fession rendered him a relapsed heretic, who could be burned with- 
out further ceremony, but his judges wanted to obtain information 
desired by Alexander, and again the sufferer was repeatedly sub- 
jected to the strappado, when he withdrew his retraction. Special 
inquiries were directed to ascertain whether the Cardinal of Naples 
had been privy to the design of convoking a general council, and 
under the stress of reiterated torture Savonarola was brought to 
admit this on the 21st, but on the 22d he withdrew the assertion, 
and the whole confession, although manipulated by the skilful 
hand of Ser Ceccone, was so nearly a repetition of the previous 
one that it was never given to the public. This mattered little, 
however, for the whole proceedings were a barefaced mockery of 
justice. From some oversight Domenico da Pescia's name had not 
been included in the papal commission. He was an individual 
of no personal importance, but some zealous Florentine warned 
Romolino that there might be danger in sparing him, when the 
commissioner carelessly replied " Afrataccio more or less makes 
no difference," and his name was added to the sentence. He was 
an impenitent heretic, for with heroic firmness he had borne the 
most excruciating torture without retracting his faith in his be- 
loved prophet.f 

* Landucci, p. 174.— Nardi, Lib. n. p. 79.— Wadding, ann. 1496, No. 7.— 
Perrens, p. 399.— Processo Autentico, p. 522.— Burlamacchi, p. 568.— Brev. Hist. 
Ord. Prsedicat. (Martene Ampl. Coll. VI. 393). 

t Landucci, p. 176.— Nardi, Lib. n. pp. 80-1.— Burlamacchi, p. 568.— Violi 
(Villari, II. App. cxxv.).— Villari, II. 206-8, 229-33; App. clxxxiv., cxciv., cxcvii. 

There was one peculiarity in this examination before Romolino which I have 
not seen recorded elsewhere. During the interrogatory of May 21 Savonarola 


The accused were at least spared the torment of suspense. On 
the 2M judgment was pronounced. They were condemned as 
heretics and schismatics, rebels from the Church, sowers of tares 
and revealers of confessions, and were sentenced to be abandoned 
to the secular arm. To justify relaxation, it was requisite that 
the culprit should be a relapsed or a defiant heretic, and Savona- 
rola was not regarded as coming under either category. He had 
always declared his readiness to retract anything which Home 
might define as erroneous. He had confessed all that had been 
required of him, nor was his retraction when removed from tort- 
ure treated as a relapse, for he and his companions were admitted 
to communion before execution, without undergoing the ceremony 
of abjuration, which shows that they were not considered as 
heretics, nor cut off from the Church. In fact, as though to com- 
plete the irregularity of the whole transaction, Savonarola himself 
was allowed to act as the celebrant, and to perform the sacred 
mysteries on the morning of the execution. All this went for 
nothing, however, when a Borgia was eager for revenge. On the 
previous evening a great pile had been built in the piazza. The 
next morning, May 23, the ceremony of degradation from holy 
orders was performed in public, after which the convicts were 
handed over to the secular magistrates. Was it hypocrisy or re- 
morse that led Romolino at this moment to give to his victims, in 
the name of Alexander, plenary indulgence of their sins, thus re- 
storing them to a state of primal innocence ? Irregular as the 
whole affair had been, it was rendered still more so by the Signoria, 
which modified the customary penalty to hanging before the burn- 
ing, and the three martyrs endured their fate in silence.* 

The utmost care was taken that the bodies should be utterly 
consumed, after which every fragment of ashes was scrupulously 
gathered up and thrown into the Arno, in order to prevent the 
preservation of relics. Yet, at the risk of their lives, some earnest 
disciples secretly managed to secure a few floating coals, as well 

was subjected to fresh torture as a preliminary to asking his confirmation of the 
statements just made under repeated tortures (Villari, II. App. cxcvi.). 

* Landucci, pp. 176-7. — Processo Autentico, p. 546. — Villari, II. 239 ; App. 
cxcviii. — Cantu, Eretici dltalia, I. 229. — Burlamacchi, pp. 569-70. — Nardi, Lib. 
ii. p. 82. 


as some fragments of garments, which were treasured and vener- 
ated even to recent times. Though many of the believers, like 
honest Landucci, were disillusioned, many were persistent in the 
faith, and for a long while lived in the daily expectation of Savon- 
arola's advent, like a new Messiah, to work out the renovation of 
Christianity and the conversion of the infidel — the realization of 
the splendid promises with which he had beguiled himself and 
them. So profound and lasting was the impression made by his 
terrible fate that for more than two centuries, until 1703, the place 
of execution was secretly strewed with flowers on the night of the 
anniversary, May 23.* 

The papal commissioners reaped a harvest by summoning to 
Rome the followers of Savonarola, and then speculating on their 
fears by selling them exemptions. Florence itself was not long 
in realizing the strength of the reaction against the puritanic 
methods which Savonarola had enforced. The streets again be- 
came filled with reckless desperadoes, quarrels and murders were 
frequent, gambling was unchecked, and license reigned supreme. 
Nardi tells us that it seemed as if decency and virtue had been 
prohibited by law, and the common remark was, that since the 
coming of Mahomet no such scandal had been inflicted upon the 
Church of God. As Landucci says, it seemed as if hell had broken 
loose. As though in very wantonness to show the Church what 
were the allies whom it had sought in the effort to crush unwel- 
come reform, on the following Christmas eve a horse was brought 
into the Duomo, and deliberately tortured to death, goats were 
let loose in San Marco, and in all the churches assafcetida was 
placed in the censers ; nor does it seem that any punishment was 
visited upon the perpetrators of these public sacrileges. The 
Church had used the sceptics to gain her ends, and could not com- 
plain of the manner in which they repaid her for her assistance in 
the unholv alliance. f 

* Landucci, p. 178. — Perrens, p. 281. — Processo Autentico, p. 547. — Nardi, 
Lib. ii. p. 82.— Villari, II. 251. 

Burlarnacchi's relation (pp. 570-1) of the manner in which an arm, a hand, 
and the heart of Savonarola were preserved for the veneration of the faithful, 
has the evident appearance of a legend to justify the authenticity of the relics. 

t Nardi, Lib. n. pp. 82-3. — Landucci, pp. 190-1. 


Savonarola had built his house upon the sand, and was. swept 
away by the waters. Yet, in spite of his execution as a heretic, 
the Church has tacitly confessed its own crime by admitting that 
he was no heretic, but rather a saint, and the most convenient 
evasion of responsibility was devoutly to refer the whole matter, 
as Luke Wadding does, to the mysterious judgment of God. Even 
Torriani and Romolino, after burning him, when they ordered, 
May 27, under pain of excommunication, all his writings to be de- 
livered up to them for examination, were unable to discover any 
heretical opinions, and were obliged to return them without eras- 
ures. Perhaps it might have been as well to do this before con- 
demning him. Paul III. declared that he would hold as a heretic 
any one who should assail the memory of Fra Girolamo; and 
Paul IV. had his works rigorously examined by a special congre- 
gation, which declared that they contained no heresy. Fifteen of 
his sermons, denunciatory of ecclesiastical abuses, and his treatise 
De Yeritate Prophetica, were placed upon the index as unfitted 
for general reading, donee corrigantur, but not as heretical. 
Benedict XI Y., in his great work, De Servorurn Dei Beatijicatione, 
includes Savonarola's name in a list of the saints and men illustri- 
ous for sanctity. Images of him graced with the nimbus of sanc- 
tity were allowed to be publicly sold, and St. Filippo Xeri kept 
one of these constantly by him. St. Francesco di Paola held him 
to be a saint. St. Catarina Ricci used to invoke him as a saint, 
and considered his suffrage peculiarly efficacious ; when she was 
canonized, her action with regard to this was brought before the 
consistory, and was thoroughly discussed. Prospero Lambertini, 
afterwards Benedict XIV., was the Promoter Jidei, and investi- 
gated the matter carefully, coming to the conclusion that this in 
no degree detracted from the merits of St. CatariDa. Benedict 
XIII. also examined the case thoroughly, and, dreading a renewal 
of the old controversy as to the justice of Savonarola's sentence, 
ordered the discussion to cease and the proceedings to continue 
without reference to it, which was a virtual decision in favor of 
the martyr's saintliness. In S. Maria Novella and S. Marco he is 
pictured as a saint, and in the frescos of the Vatican Raphael in- 
cluded him among the doctors of the Church. The Dominicans 
long cherished his memory, and were greatly disposed to regard 
him as a genuine prophet and uncanonized saint. When Clement 


VIII., in 1598, hoped to acquire Ferrara, he is said to have made 
a vow that if successful he would canonize Savonarola, and the 
hopes of the Dominicans grew so sanguine that they composed a 
litany for him in advance. In fact, in many of the Dominican 
convents of Italy during the sixteenth century, on the anniversary 
of his execution an office was sung to him as to a martyr. His 
marvellous career thus furnishes the exact antithesis of that of his 
Ferrarese compatriot, Armanno Pongilupo — the one was vener- 
ated as a saint and then burned as a heretic, the other was burned 
as a heretic and then venerated as a saint.* 

# Wadding, ann. 1498, No. 23.— Landucci, p. 178.— Perrens, pp. 296-7.— Pro- 
cesso Autentico, pp. 524, 528. — Cantu, Eretici d'ltalia, I. 234-5. — Benedicti PP. 
XIV. De Servorum Dei Beatificatione, Lib. in. c. xxv. §§ 17-20. — Brev. Hist. 
Ord. Prsedic. (Martene, Am pi. Coll. VI. 394). — Reusch, Der Index der verbotenen 
Biicher, I. 368. 

A goodly catalogue of miracles performed by Savonarola's intercession will be 
found piously chronicled by Burlamaccbi and Bottonio (Baluz. et Mansi I. pp. 



It was inevitable that secular potentates should follow the ex- 
ample of the Church in the employment of a weapon so efficient 
as the charge of heresy, when they chanced to be in the position 
of controlling the ecclesiastical organization. 

A typical illustration of this is seen when, during the anarchy 
which prevailed in Eome after the death of Innocent VII. in 1406, 
Basilio Ordelaffi incurred the enmity of the Colonnas and the Sa- 
velli, and they found that the easiest way to deal with him was 
through the Inquisition. Under their impulsion it seized him and 
two of his adherents, Matteo and Merenda. Through means pro- 
cured by his daughter, Ordelaffi escaped from prison and was con- 
demned in contumaciam. The others confessed — doubtless under 
torture — the heresies attributed to them, were handed over to the 
secular arm, and were duly burned. Their houses were torn down, 
and on their sites in time were erected two others, one of which 
afterwards became the dwelling of Michael Angelo and the other 
of Salvator Kosa.* 

Secular potentates, however, had not waited till the fifteenth 
century to appreciate the facilities afforded by heresy and the 
Inquisition for the accomplishment of their objects. Already a 
hundred years earlier the methods of the Inquisition had suggested 
to Philippe le Bel the great crime of the Middle Ages — the de- 
struction of the Order of the Temple. 

When, in 1119, Huomes de Paven and Geoffroi de Saint- Adhe- 
mar with seven companions devoted themselves to the pious task 
of keeping the roads to Jerusalem clear of robbers, that pilgrims 
might traverse them in safety, and when Kaymond du Puy about 

* Ripoll II. 566.— Wadding, ann. 1409, No. 12.— Tamburini, Storia Gen. dell' 
Inquis. II. 437-9. 


the same time organized the Poor Brethren of the Hospital of St. 
John, they opened a new career which was irresistibly attractive 
to the warlike ardor and religious enthusiasm of the age. The 
strange combination of monasticism and chivalry corresponded so 
exactly to the ideal of Christian knighthood that the Military 
Orders thus founded speedily were reckoned among the leading 
institutions of Europe. At the Council of Troyes, in 1128, a Rule, 
drawn up it is said by St. Bernard, was assigned to Hugues and 
his associates, who were known as the Poor Soldiers of the Tem- 
ple. They were assigned a white habit, as a symbol of innocence, 
to which Eugenius III. added a red cross, and their standard, Bau- 
seant, half black and half white, with its legend, " Non nobis D onl- 
ine" soon became the rallying-point of the Christian chivalry. 
The Rule, based upon that of the strict Cistercian Order, was 
exceedingly severe. The members were bound by the three mo- 
nastic vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity, and these were 
enforced in the statutes of the Order with the utmost rigor. The 
applicant for admission was required to ask permission to become 
the serf and slave of the " House " forever, and was warned that 
he henceforth surrendered his own will irrevocably. He was 
promised bread and water and the poor vestments of the House ; 
and if after death gold or silver were found among his effects 
his body was thrust into unconsecrated ground, or, if buried, it 
was exhumed. Chastity was prescribed in the same unsparing 
fashion, and even the kiss of a mother was forbidden.* 

The fame of the Order quickly filled all Europe ; knights of 
the noblest blood, dukes and princes, renounced the world to serve 
Christ in its ranks, and soon in its general chapter three hundred 
knights were gathered, in addition to serving brethren. Their 
possessions spread immensely. Towns and villages and churches 
and manors were bestowed upon them, from which the revenues 

* Jac. de Vitriaco Hist. Hierosol. cap. 65 (Bongars, II. 1083-4).— Rolewinck 
Fascic. Tempor. (Pistorii R. Germ. Scriptt. II. 546).— Regula Pauperum Com- 
Hiilitonum Templi c. 72 (Harduin. VI. n. 1146).— Regie et Statuts secrets des 
Templiers, §§ 125, 128 (Maillard de Chambure, Paris, 1840, pp. 455, 488-90, 

Since this chapter was written the Societe de l'Histoire de France has issued 
a more correct and complete edition of the Rule and Statutes of the Templars, 
under the care of M. Henri de Curzon. 


were sent to the Grand Master, whose official residence was Jeru- 
salem, together with the proceeds of the collections of an organ- 
ized system of beggary, their agents for which penetrated into 
every corner of Christendom. Scarce had the Order been or- 
ganized when, in 1133, the mighty warrior, Alonso I. of Aragon, 
known as el Batallador and also as el Emperador, because his rule 
extended over Navarre and a large portion of Castile, dying with- 
out children, left his whole dominions to the Holy Sepulchre and to 
the Knights of the Temple and of the Hospital in undivided thirds ; 
and though the will was not executed, the knights were promised 
and doubtless received compensation from his successor, Ramiro el 
Monje. More practical was the liberality of Philip Augustus, in 
1222, when he left the two Orders two thousand marks apiece 
absolutely, and the enormous sum of fifty thousand marks each 
on condition of keeping in service for three years three hundred 
knights in the Holy Land. We can understand how, in 1191, the 
Templars could buy the Island of Cyprus from Richard of Eng- 
land for twenty-five thousand silver marks, although they sold it 
the next year for the same price to Gui, King of Jerusalem. TVe 
can understand, also, that this enormous development began to ex- 
cite apprehension and hostility. At the Council of Lateran, in 
1179, there was bitter strife between the prelates and the Military 
Orders, resulting in a decree which required the Templars to sur- 
render all recently acquired churches and tithes— an order which, 
in 1186, Urban III. defined as meaning all acquired within the 
ten years previous to the council." 

This indicates that already the prelates were beginning to feel 
jealous of the new organization. In fact, the antagonism which 

* Jac. de Vitriaco loc. cit. — Roberti de Monte Contin. Sigeb. Gembl. (Pistorii, 
op. cit. I. 875).— Zurita, Anales de Aragon, Lib. I. c. 52-3. — Art de Verifier les 
Dates V. 337.— Teulet, Layettes, I. 550, No. 1547.— Grandes Chroniques, IV. 86. 
— Gualt, Mapes de Nugis Curialiuin Dist. i. c. xxiii.— Hans Prutz, Malteser Ur- 
kunden, Miiuchen, 1883, p. 43. 

A curious illustration of the prominence which the Templars were acquiring 
in the social organization is afforded in 1191, when they were made conservators 
of the Truce of God, by which the nobles and prelates of Languedoc and Pro- 
vence agreed that beasts and implements and seed employed in agriculture should 
be unmolested in time of war. For enforcing this the Templars were to receive a 
bushel of corn for every plough. — Prutz, op. cit. pp. 44-5. 


we have already traced in the thirteenth century between the 
Mendicant Orders and the secular clergy was but the repetition 
of that which had long existed with respect to the Military Or- 
ders. These from the first were the especial favorites of the Holy 
See, whose policy it was to elevate them into a militia depending 
solely on Rome, thus rendering them an instrument in extending 
its influence and breaking down the independence of the local 
churches. Privileges and immunities were showered upon them 
they were exempted from tolls and tithes and taxes of all kinds 
their churches and houses were endowed with the right of asylum 
their persons enjoyed the inviolability accorded to ecclesiastics 
they were released from all feudal obligations and allegiance ; they 
were justiciable only by Eome ; bishops were forbidden to excom- 
municate them, and were even ordered to refer to the Roman curia 
all the infinite questions which arose in local quarrels. In 1255, 
after the misfortunes of the crusade of St. Louis, alms given to 
their collectors were declared to entitle the donors to Holy Land 
indulgences. In short, nothing was omitted by the popes that 
would stimulate their growth and bind them firmly to the chair 
of St. Peter.* 

Thus it was inevitable that antagonism should spring up be- 
tween the secular hierarchy and the Military Orders. The Tem- 
plars were continually complaining that the prelates were en- 
deavoring to oppress them, to impose exactions, and to regain 
by various devices the jurisdiction from which the popes had 
relieved them ; their right of asylum was violated ; the priests 
interfered with their begging collectors, and repressed and inter- 
cepted the pious legacies designed for them ; the customary quar- 
rels over burials and burial-fees were numerous, for, until the rise 
of the Mendicants, and even afterwards, it was a frequent thing 
for nobles to order their sepulture in the Temple or the Hospital. 
To these complaints the popes ever lent a ready ear, and the favor- 
itism which they manifested only gave a sharper edge to the hos- 
tility of the defeated prelates. In 126-4 there was a threatened 
rupture between the papacy and the Temple. Etienne de Sissy, 
Marshal of the Order and Preceptor of Apulia, refused to assist 

* Rymer, Fcedera, I. 30.— Can. 10, 11, Extra, in. 30.— Prutz, op. cit. pp. 38, 
46, 48, 49, 51. 52, 53, 56-6*1, 64, 76, 78-9. 


in the crusade preparing against Manfred, and was removed by 
Urban IV. When ordered to resign his commission he boldly 
replied to Urban that no pope had ever interfered with the inter- 
nal affairs of the Order, and that he would resign his office only 
to the Grand Master who had conferred it. Urbau excommuni- 
cated him, but the Order sustained him, being discontented be- 
cause the succors levied for the Holy Land were diverted to the 
papal enterprise against Manfred. The following year a new 
pope, Clement IV., in removing the excommunication, bitterly re- 
proached the Order for its ingratitude, and pointed out that only 
the support of the papacy could sustain it against the hostility of 
the bishops and princes, which apparently was notorious. Still 
the Order held out, and in common with the Hospitallers and Cis- 
tercians, refused to pay a tithe to Charles of Anjou, in spite of 
which Clement issued numerous bulls confirming and enlarging its 

That this antagonism on the part of temporal and spiritual 
potentates had ample justification there can be little doubt. If, 
as we have seen, the Mendicant Orders rapidly declined from the 
enthusiastic self-abnegation of Dominic and Francis, such a body 
as the Templars, composed of ambitious and warlike knights, could 
hardly be expected long to retain its pristine ascetic devotion. 
Already, in 1152, the selfish eagerness of the Grand Master, Ber- 
nard de Tremelai, to secure the spoils of Ascalon nearly prevented 
the capture of that city, and the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem 
was hastened when, in 1172, the savage ferocity of Eudes de Saint- 

* Prutz, op. cit. pp. 38-41, 43, 45, 47-8, 57, 64-9, 75-80.— J. Delaville le 
Roulx, Documents concernant les Templiers Paris, 1882, p. 39. — Bini, Dei Tem- 
pieri in Toscana, Lucca, 1845, pp. 453-55. — Raynald. ann. 1265, No. 75-6. — Mar- 
tene Thesaur. II. Ill, 118. ' 

The systematic beggary of the Templars must have been peculiarly exasper- 
ating both to the secular clergy and the Mendicants. Monsignor Bini prints a 
document of 1244 in which the Preceptor of Lucca gives to Albertino di Pontre- 
moli a commission to beg for the Order. Albertino employs a certain Aliotto to 
do the begging from June till the following Carnival, and pays him by empow- 
ering him to beg on his own account from the Carnival to the octave of Easter 
(op. cit. pp. 401-2, 439-40). For the disgraceful squabbles which arose between 
the secular clergy and the Military Orders over this privileged beggary, see Fau- 
con, Registres de Boniface VIII. No. 1950, p. 746. 


Amand, then Grand Master, prevented the conversion of the King 
of the Assassins and all his people. It was not without show of 
justification that about this time Walter Mapes attributes the mis- 
fortunes of the Christians of the East to the corruption of the Mili- 
tary Orders. By the end of the century we have seen from King 
Richard's rejoinder to Foulques de Neuilly that Templar was 
already synonymous with pride, and in 1207 Innocent III. took 
the Order to task in an epistle of violent denunciation. His apos- 
tolic ears, he said, were frequently disturbed with complaints of 
their excesses. Apostatizing from God and scandalizing the Church, 
their unbridled pride abused the enormous privileges bestowed upon 
them. Employing doctrines worthy of demons, they give their 
cross to every tramp who can pay them two or three pence a year, 
and then assert that these are entitled to ecclesiastical services and 
Christian burial, even though laboring under excommunication. 
Thus ensnared by the devil they ensnare the souls of the faithful. 
He forbears to dwell further on these and other wickednesses by 
which they deserve to be despoiled of their privileges, preferring 
to hope that they will free themselves from their turpitude. A 
concluding allusion to their lack of respect towards papal legates 
probably explains the venomous vigor of the papal attack, but the 
accusations which it makes touch points on which there is other 
conclusive evidence. Although by the statutes of the Order the 
purchase of admission, directly or indirectly, was simony, entailing 
expulsion on him who paid and degradation on the preceptor who 
was privy to it, there can be no doubt that many doubtful charac- 
ters thus effected entrance into the Order. The papal letters and 
privileges so freely bestowed upon them were moreover largely 
abused, to the vexation and oppression of those with whom they 
came in contact, for, exclusively justiciable in the Roman curia, 
they were secure against all pleaders who could not afford that 
distant, doubtful, and expensive litigation. The evils thence arising 
were greatly intensified when the policy was adopted of forming 
a class of serving brethren, by whom their extensive properties 
were cultivated and managed without the cost of hired labor. 
Churls of every degree, husbandmen, shepherds, swineherds, me- 
chanics, household servants, were thus admitted into the Order, 
until they constituted at least nine tenths of it, and although these 
were distinguished by a brown mantle in place of the white gar- 


ment of the knights, and although they complained of the con- 
tempt and oppression with which they were treated by their 
knightly brethren, nevertheless, in their relations with the out- 
side world, they were full members of the Order, shrouded 
with its inviolability and entitled to all its privileges, which 
they were not likely by moderation to render less odious to the 

Thus the knights furnished ample cause for external hostility 
and internal disquiet, though there is probably no ground for the 
accusation that, in 1229, they betrayed Frederic II. to the infidel, and, 
in 1250, St. Louis to the Soldan of Egypt. Yet Frederic II. doubt- 
less had ample reason for dissatisfaction with their conduct dur- 
ing his crusade, which he revenged by expelling them from Sicily 
in 1229, and confiscating their property ; and though he recalled 
them soon after and assumed to restore their possessions, he re- 
tained a large portion. Still, pious liberality continued to increase 
the wealth of the Order, though as the Christian possessions in the 

* Guillel. Tyrii Hist. Lib. xvn. c. 27 ; xx. 31-2.— Gualt. Mapes de Nugis 
Curialium Dist. i. c. xx. — Innoc. PP. III. Regest. x. 121. Cf. xv. 131. — Regie et 
Statuts secrets, § 173, p. 389.— Michelet, Proces des Templiers, I. 39; II. 9, 83, 
140, 186-7, 406-7 (Collection de Documents inedits, Paris, 1841-51). 

When, in 1307, the Templars at Beaucaire were seized, out of sixty arrested, 
five were knights, one a priest, and fifty-four were serving brethren ; in June, 1310, 
out of thirty-three prisoners in the Chateau d'Alais, there were four knights and 
one priest, with twenty-eight serving brethren (Yaissette, IV. 141). In the trials 
which have reached us the proportion of knights is even less. The serving breth- 
ren occasionally reached the dignity of preceptor; but how little this implies is 
shown by the examination, in June, 1310, of Giovanni di Neritone, Preceptor 
of Castello Yillari, a serving brother, who speaks of himself as " simplex et rus- 
ticus" (Schottmiiller, Der Ausgang des Templer-Ordens, Berlin, 1887, II. 125, 

The pride of birth in the Order is illustrated by the rule that none could be 
admitted as knights except those of knightly descent. In the Statutes a case is 
cited of a knight who was received as such ; those who were of his country de- 
clared that he was not the son of a knight. He was sent for from Antioch to a 
chapter where this was found to be true, when the white mantle was removed 
and a brown one put on him. His receptor was then in Europe, and when he 
returned to Syria he was called to account. He justified himself by his having 
acted under the orders of his commander of Poitou. This was found to be true ; 
otherwise, and but that he was a good knight {proudun*), he would have lost the 
habit (Regie, § 125, pp. 462-3). 


East shrank more and more, people began to attribute the cease- 
less misfortunes to the bitter jealousy and animosity existing be- 
tween the rival Orders of the Temple and the Hospital, which in 
1243 had broken out into open war in Palestine, to the great com- 
fort of the infidel. A remedy was naturally sought in a union of 
the two Orders, together with that of the Teutonic Knights. At 
the Council of Lyons, in 1274, Gregory X. vainly endeavored to ef- 
fect this, but the countervailing influences, including, it was said, 
the gold of the brethren, were too powerful. In these reproaches 
perhaps the Orders were held to an undeserved accountability, 
for while their quarrels and the general misconduct of the Latins 
in Palestine did much to wreck the kingdom of Jerusalem, the 
real responsibility lay rather with the papacy. When thousands 
of heretics were sent as crusaders in punishment, the glory of the 
service was fatally tarnished. When money raised and vows taken 
for the Holy Land were diverted to the purposes of the papal 
power in Italy, when the doctrine was publicly announced that 
the home interests of the Holy See were more important than the 
recovery of the Holy Sepulchre, the enthusiasm of Christendom 
against the infidel was chilled. When salvation could be gained 
at almost any time by a short term of service near home in the 
quarrels of the Church, whether on the Weser or in Lombardy, 
the devotion which had carried thousands to the Syrian deserts 
found a less rugged and a safer path to heaven. It is easy thus 
to understand how in the development of papal aggrandizement 
through the thirteenth century recruits and money were lacking to 
maintain against the countless hordes of Tartars the conquests of 
Godfrey of Bouillon. In addition to all this the Holy Land was 
made a penal settlement whither were sent the malefactors of 
Europe, rendering the Latin colony a horde of miscreants whose 
crimes deserved and whose disorders invited the vengeance of 

* Matt. Paris, ann. 1228, 1243 (Ed. 1644, p. 240, 420).— -Mansuet le Jeune, 
Hist, des Templiers, Paris, 1789, 1. 340-1.— Prutz, op. cit. pp. 60-1.— Mag. Cbron. 
Belgic. ann. 1274.— Faucon, Registres de Boniface VIII. No. 1691-2, 1697.— Marin. 
Sanuti Secret. Fidel. Lib. in. P. ix. c. 1, 2 (Bongars, II. 188-9). 

The Hospital was open to the same reproaches as the Temple. In 1238 
Gregory IX. vigorously assailed the Knights of St John for their abuse of the 
privileges bestowed on thein — their unchastity and the betrayal of the cause of 


With the fall of Acre, in 1291, the Christians were driven 
definitely from the shores of Syria, causing intense grief and in- 
dignation throughout Europe. In that disastrous siege, brought 
on by the perfidy of a band of crusaders who refused to observe 
an existing truce, the Hospital won more glory than the Temple, 
although the Grand Master, Guillaume de Beaujeu, had been chosen 
to command the defence, and fell bravely fighting for the cross. 
After the surrender and massacre, his successor, the monk Gaudini, 
sailed for Cyprus with ten knights, the sole survivors of five hun- 
dred who had held out to the last. Again, not without reason, the 
cry went up that the disaster Avas the result of the quarrels be- 
tween the Military Orders, and Nicholas IV. promptly sent letters 
to the kings and prelates of Christendom asking their opinions on 
the project of uniting them, in view of the projected crusade which 
was to sail on St. John's day, 1293, under Edward I. of England. 
At least one affirmative answer was received from the provincial 
council of Salzburg, but ere it reached Rome Nicholas was dead. 
A long interregnum, followed by the election of the hermit Pier 
Morrone, put an end to the project for the time, but it was again 

God in Palestine. He even asserts that there are not a few heretics among them. 
— Raynald. aim. 1238, No. 31-2. 

A sirvente by a Templar, evidently written soon after the fall of Acre, alludes 
bitterly to the sacrifice made of the Holy Land in favor of the ambition and 
cupidity of the Holy See — 

" Lo papa fa de perdon gran largueza 
Contr' Alamans ab Aries e Frances ; 
E sai mest nos mostram gran cobeeza, 
Quar nostras crotz van per crotz de tornes ; 
E qui vol camjar Romania 
Per la guerra de Lombardia? 
Nostres legatz, don yeu vos die per ver 
Qu'els vendon Dieu el perdon per aver." — 

Meyer, Eecueil cfanciens Teztes, p. 96. 
It is also to be borne in mind that indulgences were vulgarized in many other 
ways. When St. Francis announced to Honorius III. that Christ had sent him to 
obtain plenary pardons for those who should visit the Church of S. Maria di 
Porziuncola, the cardinals at once objected that this would nullify the indulgences 
for the Holy Land, and Honorius thereupon limited the Portiuncula indulgence 
to the twenty-four hours commencing with the vespers of August 1. — Amoni s 
Legenda S. Francisci, Append, c. xxxiii. 


taken up by Boniface VIII. , to be interrupted and laid aside, prob- 
ably by his engrossing quarrel with Philippe le Bel. What was 
the drift of public opinion at the time is probably reflected in a 
tract on the recovery of the Holy Land addressed to Edward I. 
It is there proposed that the two Orders, whose scandalous quar- 
rels have rendered them the object of scorn, shall be fused together 
and confined to their eastern possessions, which should be sufficient 
for their support, while their combined revenues from their west- 
ern property, estimated at eight hundred thousand livres Tourr.ois 
per annum, be employed to further the crusade. Evidently the 
idea was spreading that their wealth could be seized and used to 
better purpose than it was likely to be in their hands.* 

Thus the Order was somewhat discredited in popular estima- 
tion when, in 1297, Jacques de Molay, whose terrible fate has cast 
a sombre shadow over his name through the centuries, was elected 
Grand Master, after a vigorous and bitter opposition by the par- 
tisans of Hugues de Peraud. A few years of earnest struggle to 
regain a foothold in Palestine seemed to exhaust the energy and 
resources of the Order, and it became quiescent in Cyprus. Its 
next exploit, though not official, was not of a nature to conciliate 
public opinion. Charles de Valois, the evil genius of his brother 
Philippe le Bel, and of his nephews, in 1300 married Catherine, 
granddaughter of Baldwin II. of Constantinople, and titular em- 
press. In 1306 he proposed to make good his wife's claims on 
the imperial throne, and he found a ready instrument in Clement 
V., who persuaded himself that the attempt would not be a weak- 
ening of Christianity in the East, but a means of recovering Pales- 
tine, or at least of reducing the Greek Church to subjection. He 
therefore endeavored to unite the Italian republics and princes in 
this crusade against Christians. Charles II. of Naples undertook 
an expedition in conjunction with the Templars. A fleet was 
fitted out under the command of Koger, a Templar of high reputa- 
tion for skill and audacity. It captured Thessalonica, but in place 
of actively pursuing Andronicus II., the Templars turned their 

* Mansuet, op. cit. II. 101, 133.— De Excidio Urbis Acconis (Martene Ampl. 
Coll. V. 757).— Raynald. arm. 1291, No. 30, 31.— Archives Nat. de France, J. 431, 
No. 40.— Chron. Salisburg. arm. 1291 (Canisii et Basnage III, n. 489).— Annal. 
Eberhard. Altahens. (lb. IV. 229).— De Recuperatione Tense Sanctae (Bongars, II. 


arms against the Latin princes of Greece, ravaged cruelly the shores 
of Thrace and the Morea, and returned with immense booty, hav- 
ing aroused enmities which were an element in their downfall. In 
contrast to this the Hospitallers were acquiring fresh renown as 
the champions of Christ by gallantly conquering, after a four 
years' struggle, the island of Rhodes, in which they so long main- 
tained the cause of Christianity in the East. In 1306 Clement 
Y. sent for de Molay and Guillaume de Villaret, Grand Master of 
the Hospitallers, to consult about a new crusade and the often dis- 
cussed project of the union of the Orders. He told them to come 
as secretly as possible, but while the Hospitaller, engrossed with 
preparations for the siege of Rhodes, excused himself, de Molay 
came in state, with a retinue of sixty knights, and manifested no 
intention of returning to his station in the East. This well might 
arouse the question whether the Templars were about to abandon 
their sphere of duty, and if so, what were the ambitious schemes 
which might lead them to transfer their headquarters to France. 
The Teutonic knights in withdrawing from the East were carving 
out for themselves a kingdom amid the Pagans of northeastern 
Europe. Had the Templars any similar aspirations nearer home \ * 

* Raynald. arm. 1306. No. 3-5, 12.— Regest, Clement. PP. V. (Ed. Benedict. T. 
I. pp. 40-46: T. II. p. 55, 58, Romse, 1885-6).— Mansuet, op. cit. II. 132.— Ray- 
nouard, Monuments historiques relatifs a la Condamnation des Chevaliers du Tem- 
ple, Paris, 1813, pp. 17,46. 

The summons to the Grand Master of the Hospital is dated June 6. 1306, 
(Regest. Clem. PP. V. T. I. p. 190). That to de Molay was probably issued at the 
same time. From some briefs of Clement, June 13, 1306, in favor of Humbert 
Blanc, Preceptor of Auvergne, it would seem that the latter was engaged in some 
crusading enterprise (Ibid. pp. 191-2), probably in connection with the attempt 
of Charles of Valois. When Hugues de Peraud, however, and other chiefs of the 
Order were about to sail, in November, Clement retained them (lb. T. II. p. 5). 

It has rather been the fashion with historians to assume that de Molay trans- 
ferred the headquarters of the Order from Cyprus to Paris. Yet when the papal 
orders for arrest reached Cyprus, on May 27, 1308, the marshal, draper, and treas- 
urer surrendered themselves with others, showing that there had been no thought 
of removing the active administration of the Order. — (Dupuy, Traitez concernant 
FHistoire de France, Ed. 1700, pp. 63, 132). Raimbaut de Caron, Preceptor of 
Cyprus, apparently had accompanied de Molay. and was arrested with him in the 
Temple of Paris (Proces des Templiers, II. 374), but with this exception all the 
principal knights seized were only local dignitaries. 

I think also that Schottmuller (Der Untergang des Ternpler-Ordens, Berlin, 


Suspicions of the kind might not unnaturally be excited, and 
yet be wholly without foundation. Modern writers have exer- 
cised their ingenuity in conjecturing that there was a plot on hand 
for the Templars to seize the south of France and erect it into an 
independent kingdom. The Order had early multiplied rapidly 
in the provinces from the Garonne to the Eh one ; it is assumed 
that they were deeply tinctured with Catharism, and held relations 
with the concealed heretics in those regions. All this is the sheer- 
est assumption without the slightest foundation. There was not 
a trace of Catharism in the Order,* and we have seen how by this 
time the Cathari of Languedoc had been virtually exterminated, 
and how the land had been Gallicized by the Inquisition. Such 
an alliance would have been a source of weakness, not of strength, 
for it would have brought upon them all Europe in arms, and had 
there been a shred of evidence to that effect, Philippe le Bel would 
have made the most of it. Neither can it be assumed that thev 
were intriguing with the discontented, orthodox population. Ber- 
nard Delicieux and the Carcassais would never have turned to the 
feeble Ferrand of Majorca if they could have summoned to their 
assistance the powerful Order of the Temple. Yet even the Order 
of the Temple, however great might have been its aggregate, was 
fatally weakened for such ambitious projects by being scattered 
in isolated fragments over the whole extent of Europe ; and its 
inability to concentrate its forces for either aggression or defence 
was shown when it surrendered with scarce an effort at self-pres- 
ervation in one country after another. Besides, it was by no 
means so numerous and wealthy as has been popularly supposed. 
The dramatic circumstances of its destruction have inflamed the 
imagination of all who have written about it, leading to a not un- 
natural exaggeration in contrasting its prosperity and its misery. 
An anonymous contemporary tells us that the Templars were so 

1887, I. 66,99; II. 38) sufficiently proves the incredibility of the story of the im- 
mense treasure brought to France by de Molay, and he further points out (I. 98) 
that the preservation of the archives of the Order in Malta shows that they could 
not have been removed to Fiance. 

* Perhaps the most detailed and authoritative contemporary account ot the 
downfall of the Templars is that of Bernard Gui (Flor. Chronic, ap. Bouquet 
XXI. 716 sqq.). It is impossible to doubt that had there been anything savoring 
of Catharism in the Order he would have scented it out and alluded to it. 


rich and powerful that they could scarce have been suppressed but 
for the secret and sudden movement of Philippe le Bel. Villani, 
who was also a contemporary, says that their power and wealth 
were well-nigh incomputable. As time went on conceptions be- 
came magnified by distance. Trithemius assures us that it was the 
richest of all the monastic Orders, not only in gold and silver, but 
in its vast dominions, towns and castles in all the lands of Europe. 
Modern writers have even exceeded this in their efforts to present 
definite figures. Maillard de Chambure assumes that at the time 
of its downfall it numbered thirtv thousand knights with a revenue 
of eight million livres Tournois. AYilcke estimates its income at 
twenty million thalers of modern money, and asserts that in France 
alone it could keep in the field an army of fifteen thousand cavaliers. 
Zockler calculates its income at fifty-four millions of francs, and 
that it numbered twenty thousand knights. Even the cautious 
Havemann echoes the extravagant statement that in wealth and 
power it could rival all the princes of Christendom, while Schott- 
miiller assumes that in France alone there were fifteen thousand 
brethren, and over twenty thousand in the whole Order.* 

The peculiar secrecy in which all the affairs of the Order were 
shrouded renders such estimates purely conjectural. As to num- 
bers, it has been overlooked that the great body of members were 
serving brethren, not fighting-men — herdsmen, husbandmen, and 
menials employed on the lands and in the houses of the knights, 
and adding little to their effective force. When they considered it 
a legitimate boast that in the one hundred and eighty years of 
their active existence twenty thousand of the brethren had per- 
ished in Palestine, we can see that at no time could the roll of 
knights have exceeded a few thousand at most. At the Council 
of Yienne the dissolution of the Order was urged on the ground 
that more than two thousand depositions of witnesses had been 
taken, and as these depositions covered virtually all the prisoners 

* Wilcke, Geschichte des Ordens der Tempelherren, II. Ausgabe, 1860, n. 51, 
103-4, 183.— Chron. Anonyme (Bouquet, XXI. 149).— Villani Cron. vin. 92.— 
Mag. Chron. Belgic. (Pistor. III. 155).— Trithem. Chron. Hirsaug. ann. 1307. — 
Regie et Statuts secrets, p. 64. — Real-Encyklop. XV. 305. — Havemann, Geschichte 
des Ausgangs des Tempelherrenordens, Stuttgart, 1846, p. 165. — Schottin tiller, 
op. cit. I. 236, 695. 


examined in France, England, Spain, Italy, and Germany, whoso 
evidence could be used, it shows that the whole number can only 
have been insignificant in comparison with what had been general- 
ly imagined. Cyprus was the headquarters of the Order after the 
fall of Acre, yet at the time of the seizure there were but one hun- 
dred and eighteen members there of all ranks, and the numbers 
with which we meet in the trials everywhere are ludicrously out 
of proportion with the enormous total popularly attributed to 
the Order. A contemporary, of warmly papalist sympathies, ex- 
presses his grief at the penalties righteously incurred by fifteen 
thousand champions of Christ, which may be taken as an approxi- 
mate guess at the existing number ; and if among these we assume 
fifteen hundred knights, we shall probably be rather over than un- 
der the reality. As for the wealth of the Order, in the general ef- 
fort to appropriate its possessions it was every one's interest to con- 
ceal the details of the aggregate, but we chance to have a standard 
which shows that the estimates of its supereminent riches are gross- 
ly exaggerated. In 1244 Matthew Paris states that it possessed 
throughout Christendom nine thousand manors, while the Hospi- 
tallers had nineteen thousand. Nowhere was it more prosperous 
than in Aquitaine, and about the year 1300, in a computation of a 
tithe granted to Philippe le Bel, in the province of Bordeaux, the 
Templars are set down at six thousand livres, the Hospitallers at 
the same, while the Cistercians are registered for twelve thousand. 
In the accounts of a royal collector in 1293 there are specified in 
Auvergne fourteen Temple preceptories, paying in all three hun- 
dred and ninety-two livres, while the preceptories of the Hospital- 
lers number twenty-four, with a payment of three hundred and 
sixty-four livres. It will be remembered that a contemporary 
writer estimates the combined revenues of the two Orders at eight 
hundred thousand livres Tournois per annum, and of this the larger 
portion probably belonged to the Hospital.* 

* Proces des Templiers, I. 144.— Raynald. aim. 1307, No. 12 ; arm. 1311, No. 
53.— Schottmuller, op. cit. I. 465.— Ferreti Vicentini Hist. (Muratori S. R. I. IX. 
1018).— Matt. Paris, aim. 1244 (p. 417).— Dom Bouquet, XXI. 545.— Chassaing, 
Spicilegium Brivatense, pp. 212-13. 

An illustration of the exaggerations current as to the Templars is seen in the 
assertion, confidently made, that in P.ouss'llon and Cerdagne the Order owned 


Yet the wealth of the Order was more than sufficient to excite 
the cupidity of royal freebooters, and its power and privileges 
quite enough to arouse distrust in the mind of a less suspicious 
despot than Philippe le Bel. Many ingenious theories have been 
advanced to explain his action, but they are superfluous. In his 
quarrel with Boniface VIIL, though the Templars were accused 
of secretly sending money to Eome in defiance of his prohihition, 
they stood by him and signed an act approving and confirming 
the assembly of the Louvre in June, 1303, where Boniface was for- 
mally accused of heresy, and an appeal was made to a future 
council to be assembled on the subject. So cordial, in fact, was the 
understanding between the king and the Templars that royal let- 
ters of July 10, 1303, show that the collection of all the royal rev- 
enues throughout France was intrusted to Hugues de Peraud, the 
Visitor of France, who had narrowly missed obtaining the Grand 
Mastership of the Order. In June, 1304, Philippe confirmed all 
their privileges, and in October he issued an Ordonnance granting 
them additional ones and speaking of their merits in terms of 
warm appreciation. They lent him, in 1299, the enormous sum of 
five hundred thousand livres for the dowry of his sister. As late 
as 1306, when Hugues de Peraud had suffered a loss of two thou- 
sand silver marks deposited with Tommaso and Yanno Mozzi, Flor 
entine bankers, who fraudulently disappeared, Philippe promptly 
intervened and ordered restitution of the sum by Aimon, Abbot of 
S. Antoine, who had gone security for the bankers. When in his 
extreme financial straits he debased the coinage until a popular 
insurrection was excited in Paris, it was in the Temple that he 
took refuge, and it was the Templars that defended him against 
the assaults of the mob. But these very obligations were too great 
to be incurred by a monarch who was striving to render himself 
absolute, and the recollection of them could hardly fail to suggest 
that the Order was a dangerous factor in a kingdom where feudal 

half the land, while an examination of its Cartulary shows that in reality it pos- 
sessed but four lordships, together with fragmentary rights over rents, tithes, or 
villeins in seventy other places. A single abbey, that of St. Michel de Cuxa, 
possessed thirty lordships and similar rights in two hundred other places, and 
there were two other abbeys, Aries, and Cornelia de Conflent, each richer than 
the Templars. — Allart, Bulletin de la Societe Agricole, Scientifique et Litteraire 
des Pyrenees Orientales, T. XV. pp. 107-8. 


institutions were being converted into a despotism. While it 
might not have strength to sever a portion of the provinces and 
erect an independent principality, it might at any moment become 
a disagreeable element in a contest with the great feudatories to 
whom the knights were bound by common sympathies and inter- 
ests. He was engaged in reducing them to subjection by the ex- 
tension of the royal jurisdiction, and the Templars were subject 
to no jurisdiction save that of the Holy See. They were not his 
subjects ; they owed him no obedience or allegiance ; he could not 
summon them to perform military service as he could his bishops, 
but they enjoyed the right to declare war and make peace on their 
own account without responsibility to any one ; they were clothed 
in all the personal inviolability of ecclesiastics, and he possessed no 
means of control over them as he did with the hierarchy of the 
Gallican Church. They were exempt from all taxes and tolls and 
customs dues ; their lands contributed nothing to his necessities, 
save when he could wring from the pope the concession of a tithe. 
While thus in every way independent of him, they were bound by 
rules of the blindest and most submissive obedience to their own 
superiors. The command of the Master was received as an order 
from God ; no member could have a lock upon a bag or trunk, 
could bathe or let blood, could open a letter from a kinsman with- 
out permission of his commander, and any disobedience forfeited 
the habit and entailed imprisonment in chains, with its indelible 
disabilities. It is true that in 1295 there had been symptoms of 
turbulence in the Order, when the intervention of Boniface YIII. 
was required to enforce subjection to the Master, but this had 
passed away, and the discipline within its ranks was a religious 
obligation which rendered it vastly more efficient for action than 
the elastic allegiance of the vassal to his seigneur. Such a body 
of armed warriors was an anomaly in a feudal organization, and 
when the Templars seemed to have abandoned their military ac- 
tivity in the East, Philippe, in view of their wealth and numbers 
in France, may well have regarded them as a possible obstacle to 
his schemes of monarchical aggrandizement to be got rid of at the 
first favorable moment. At the commencement of his reign he 
had endeavored to put a stop to the perpetual acquisitions of both 
the religious Orders and the Templars, through which increasing 
bodies of land were falling under mainmorte, and the fruitlessness 


of the effort must have strengthened his convictions of its neces- 
sity. If it be asked why he attacked the Templars rather than the 
Hospitallers, the answer is probably to be found in the fact that 
the Temple was the weaker of the two, while the secrecy shroud- 
ing its ritual rendered it an object of popular suspicion.* 

Walsingham asserts that Philippe's design in assailing the Tem- 
plars was to procure for one of his younger sons the title of King of 
Jerusalem, with the Templar possessions as an appanage. Such a 
project was completely within the line of thought of the time, and 
would have resulted in precipitating Europe anew upon Syria. It 
may possibly have been a motive at the outset, and was gravely 
discussed in the Council of Vienne in favor of Philippe le Long, 
but it is evident that no sovereign outside of France would have 
permitted the Templar dominions within his territories to pass 
under the control of a member of the aspiring house of Capet.f 

For the explanation of Philippe's action, however, we need 
hardly look further than to financial considerations. He was in 
desperate straits for money to meet the endless drain of the Flem- 
ish war. He had imposed taxes until some of his subjects were in 
revolt, and others were on the verge of it. He had debased the 
currency until he earned the name of the Counterfeiter, had found 
himself utterly unable to redeem his promises, and had discovered 
by experience that of all financial devices it was the most costly 
and ruinous. His resources were exhausted and his scruples were 
few. The stream of confiscations from Languedoc was beginning to 
run dry, while the sums which it had supplied to the royal treasury 
for more than half a century had shown the profit which was de- 
rivable from well-applied persecution of heresy. He had just car- 

* Du Puy, Hist, du Differend, Preuves, pp. 136-7.— Baudouin, Lettres inedites 
de Philippe le Bel, p. 163.— Maillard de Chambure, p. 61. — Grandes Chroniques,V. 
173.— Raynouard, pp. 14, 21.— Ryraer, I. 30.— Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. I. p. 192 
(Ed. Benedict. Romse, 1885).— Prutz, pp. 23, 31, 38, 46, 49, 51-2, 59, 76, 78, 79, 
80.— Regie et Statuts, § 29, p. 226 ; § 58, pp. 249, 254 ; § 126, pp. 463-4.— Thomas, 
Registres de Boniface VIII. T. I. No. 490.— Baudouin, op. cit, p. 212. 

Schottmiiller (Der Untergang des Templer-Ordens, Berlin, 1887, I. 65) con- 
jectures that the loan of five hundred thousand livres to Philippe is probably a 
popular error arising from the intervention of the Templars as bankers in the 
payment of the dowry. 

f D'Argentre I. i. 280.— Wilcke, op. cit. II. 304-6. 


ried out a financial expedient of the same kind as his dealings with 
the Templars, by arresting all the Jews of the kingdom simultane- 
ously, stripping them of their property, and banishing them under 
pain of death. A memorandum of questions for consideration, 
still preserved in the Tresor des Chartres, shows that he expected 
to benefit in the same way from the confiscation of the Templar 
possessions, while, as we shall see, he overlooked the fact that 
these, as ecclesiastical property, were subject to the imprescriptible 
rights of the Church.* 

The stories about Squin de Florian, a renegade Templar, and 
Noffo Dei, a wicked Florentine, both condemned to death and con- 
cocting the accusations to save themselves, are probably but the 
conception of an imaginative chronicler, handed down from one 
annalist to another, f Such special interposition was wholly un- 
necessary. The foolish secrecy in which the Templars enveloped 
their proceedings was a natural stimulus of popular curiosity and 
suspicion. Alone among religious Orders, the ceremonies of recep- 
tion were conducted in the strictest privacy ; chapters were held 
at daybreak with doors closely guarded, and no participant was 
allowed to speak of what was done, even to a fellow-Templar not 
concerned in the chapter, under the heaviest penalty known — that 
of expulsion. That this should lead to gossip and stories of rites 
too repulsive and hideous to bear the light was inevitable. It was 
the one damaging fact against them, and when Humbert Blanc, 
Preceptor of Auvergne, was asked on his trial why such secrecy 
was observed if they had nothing to conceal, he could only an- 
swer " through folly." Thus it was common report that the neo- 
phyte was subjected to the humiliation of kissing the posteriors 
of his preceptor — a report which the Hospitallers took special 
pleasure in circulating. That unnatural lusts should be attributed 
to the Order is easily understood, for it was a prevalent vice of the 
Middle Ages, and one to which monastic communities were espe- 

* Guill. Nangiac. Contin. ann. 1306. — Vaissette, IV. 135.— Raynouard, p. 24. 

t Villani, Cron. vin. 92. — Amalr. Augerii Vit. Clera. V. (Muratori S. R. I. III. 
II. 443-44).— S. Antonini Hist. (D'Argentre I. i. 281).— Trithem. Chron. Hirsaug. 
ann. 1307.— Raynald. ann. 1307, No. 12. The best-informed contemporaries, 
Bernard Gui, the Continuation of Nangis, Jean de S. Victor, the Grandes Chro- 
niques, say nothing about this story. 


cially subject ; as recently as 1292 a horrible scandal of this kind 
had led to the banishment of many professors and theologians of 
the University of Paris. Darker rumors were not lacking of un- 
christian practices introduced in the Order by a Grand Master 
taken prisoner by the Soldan of Babylon, and procuring his release 
under promise of rendering them obligatory on the members. 
There was also a legend that in the early davs of the Order two 
Templars were riding on one horse in a battle beyond seas. The 
one in front recommended himself to Christ and was sorely 
wounded ; the one behind recommended himself to him who best 
could help, and he escaped. The latter was said to be the demon 
in human shape who told his wounded comrade that if he would 
believe him the Order would grow in wealth and power. The 
Templar was seduced, and thence came error and unbelief into the 
organization. "We have seen how readily such stories obtained 
credence throughout the Middle Ages, how they grew and became 
embroidered with the most fantastic details. The public mind 
was ripe to believe anything of the Templars ; a spark only was 
needed to produce a conflagration.* 

* Regie et Statuts secrets, §81, p. 314; §124. p. 448— Wilkins Concilia II. 
338.— Proces des Templiers, I. 186-7, 454 ; II. 139, 153, 195-6, 223, 440, 445, 471. 
— S. Damiani Lib. Gomorrhian. — Guillel. Nangiac. aim. 1120. — Alani de Insulis 
Lib. de Planctu Naturae. — Gualt. Mapes de Nugis Curialium i. xxiv. — Prediche 
del B. Fra Giordano da Rivalto, Firenze, 1831, L 230.— Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. 
V. p. 259 (Ed. Benedictin. Romae, 1887).— Alvar. Pelag. de Planet. Eccles. Lib. u. 
Art. ii. fol. lxxxiii. — Menioires de Jacques Du Clercq, Liv. in. ch. 42; Liv. iv. 
ch. 3. — Rogeri Bacon Compend. Studii Philosophise cap. ii. (M. R. Series I. 412). 

Unnatural crime was subject to ecclesiastical jurisdiction and the punishment 
was burning alive (Tres Ancien Cout. de Bretagne, Art. 112, 142 ap. Bourdot de 
Richebourg, IV. 227, 232. — Statuta Criminalia Mediolani e tenebris in lucem 
edita, cap. 51, Bergomi, 1594). An instance of the infliction of the penalty by 
secular justice is recorded at Bourges in 1445 (Jean Chartier. Hist, de Charles 
VII. Ed. Godefroy, p. 72), and another at Zurich in 1482 (V. Anaheim, Die Berner 
Chronik, Bern. 1884, 1. 221), though in 1451 Nicholas V. had subjected the crime 
to the Inquisition (Ripoll III. 301). D'Argentre" says " Haec poena toto regno et 
vulgo statutis Italiae indicitur per civitates, sed pene irritis legibus" (Comment. 
Consuetud. Due. Britann. p. 1810). In England it was a secular crime, punish- 
able by burning alive (Home, Myrroi of Justice, cap. iv. § 14) and in Spain by 
castration and lapidation (El Fuero real de Espana. Lib. rv. Tit. ix. I. 2). 

The gossiping experiences in Syria and Italy of Antonio Sicci da Vercelli, as 


Philippe's ministers and agents — Guillaume de Nogaret, Guil- 
laume de Plaisian, Eenaud de Roye, and Enguerrand de Marigny 
— were quite fitted to appreciate such an opportunity to relieve 
the royal exchequer, nor could they be at a loss in finding testi- 
mony upon which to frame a formidable list of charges, for we 
have already seen how readily evidence was procured from ap- 
parently respectable witnesses convicting Boniface VIII. of crimes 
equally atrocious. In the present case the task was easier: the 
Templars could have been no exception to the general demoraliza- 
tion of the monastic Orders, and in their ranks there must have 
been many desperate adventurers, ready for any crime that would 
bring a profit. Expelled members there were in plenty who had 
been ejected for their misdeeds, and who could lose nothing by 
gratifying their resentments. Apostates also were there who had 
fled from the Order and were liable to imprisonment if caught, 
besides the crowd of worthless ribalds whom the royal agents 
could always secure when evidence for any purpose was wanted. 
These were quietly collected by Guillaume de Nogaret, and kept 
in the greatest secrecy at Corbeil under charge of the Dominican, 
Humbert. Heresy was, of course, the most available charge to 
bring. The Inquisition was there as an unfailing instrument to 
secure conviction. Popular rumor, no matter by whom affirmed, 
was sufficient to require arrest and trial, and when once on trial 
there were few indeed from whom the inquisitorial process could 
not wring conviction. When once the attempt was determined 
upon the result was inevitable.* 

Still, the attempt could not be successful without the concur- 
rence of Clement V., for the inquisitorial courts, both of the Holy 
Office and of the bishops, were under papal control, and, besides, 
public opinion would require that the guilt of the Order should 

related before the papal commission in March, 1311, show the popular belief 
that there was a terrible secret in the Order which none of its members dared 
reveal (Proces, I. 644-5). 

It is perhaps a coincidence that in 1307 the Teutonic Order was likewise ac- 
cused of heresy by the Archbishop of Riga. Its Grand Master, Carl Beffart, was 
summoned by Clement, and with difficulty averted from his Order the fate of the 
Templars.— Wilcke, II. 118. 

* Proces des Templiers, I. 36, 168.— Chron. Anonyme (Bouquet, XXI. 137).— 
Joann. de S.Victor. (Bouquet, XXI. 649-50). 

III.— 17 


be proved in other lands besides France. To enable Philippe to 
enjoy the expected confiscations in his own dominions, confis- 
cation must be general throughout Europe, and for this the co- 
operation of the Holy See was essential. Clement subsequently de- 
clared that Philippe broached the subject to him in aD its details 
before his coronation at Lyons, November 14, 1305,* but the papal 
bulls throughout the whole matter are so infected with mendacity 
that slender reliance is to be placed on their statements. Doubt 
less there was some discussion about the current reports defaming 
the Order, but Clement is probably not subject to the imputation 
which historians have thrown upon him, that his summons to de 
Molay and de Villaret in 1306 was purely a decoy. It seems to 
me reasonable to conclude that he sent for them in good faith, 
and that de Molay's own imprudence in establishing himself in 
France, as though for a permanence, excited at once the suspicions 
-and cupidity of the king, and ripened into action what had pre- 
viously been merely a vague conception.f 

If such was the case, Philippe was not long in maturing the 
project, nor were his agents slow in gathering material for the 
accusation. In his interview with Clement at Poitiers, in the 
spring of 1307, he vainly demanded the condemnation of the 
memor} 7 of Boniface VIII. , and, failing in this, he brought for- 
ward the charges against the Templars, while temporarily drop- 
ping the other matter, but with equal lack of immediate result. 
Clement sent for de Molay, who came to him with Eaimbaud de 
Caron, Preceptor of Cyprus, Geoffroi de Gonneville, Preceptor of 
Aquitaine and Poitou, and Hugues de Peraud, Visitor of France, 
the principal officers of the Order then in the kingdom. The 
charges were communicated to them in all their foulness. Clem- 

* Bull. Pastor alia praeminentim (Mag. Bull. Rom. Supplem. IX. 126). — Bull. 
Faciena miaericordiam (lb. p. 136). — The Itineraries of Philippe and the record of 
pastoral visitations by Bertrand de Goth (Clement V.) sufficiently disprove the 
legendary story, originating with Villani, of the conditions entered into in advance 
at St. Jean d'Angely between Philippe and Clement (see van Os, De Abolitione 
Ordinis Templariorum, Herbipoli, 1874, pp. 14—15). None the less, however, was 
Clement practically subordinated to Philippe. 

t Schottmuller's theory (Der Untergang des Templer-Ordens, I. 91) that Clem- 
ent summoned the chiefs of the two Military Orders to arrange with them for the 
protection of the Holy See against Philippe appears to me destitute of all prob- 


ent subsequently had the audacity to declare to all Europe that 
de Molay before his arrest confessed their truth in the presence 
of his subordinates and of ecclesiastics and laymen, but this is a 
manifest lie. The Templars returned to Paris evidently relieved 
of all anxiety, thinking that they had justified themselves com- 
pletely, and de Molay, on October 12, the eve of the arrest, had 
the honor to be one of the four pall-bearers at the obsequies of 
Catharine, wife of Charles de Valois, evidently for the purpose of 
lulling him with a sense of security. Nay, more, on August 24, 
Clement had written to Philippe urging him to make peace with 
England, and referring to his charges against the Templars in their 
conversations at Lyons and Poitiers, and the representations on 
the subject made by his agents. The charges, he says, appear to 
him incredible and impossible, but as de Molay and the chief of- 
ficers of the Order had complained of the reports as injurious, and 
had repeatedly asked for an investigation, offering to submit to 
the severest punishment if found guilty, he proposes in a few days, 
on his return to Poitiers, to commence, with the advice of his car- 
dinals, an examination into the matter, for which he asks the king 
to send him the proofs.* 

No impression had evidently thus far been made upon Clement, 
and he w r as endeavoring, in so far as he dared, to shuffle the affair 
aside. Philippe, however, had under his hands the machinery 
requisite to attain his ends, and he felt assured that when the 
Church was once committed to it, Clement w^ould not venture to 
withdraw. The Inquisitor of France, Guillaume de Paris, was his 
confessor as well as papal chaplain, and could be relied upon. It 
w r as his official duty to take cognizance of all accusations of heresy, 
and to summon the secular powder to his assistance, wmile his aw- 
ful authority overrode all the special immunities and personal in- 
violability of the Order. As the Templars were all defamed for 
heresy by credible witnesses, it was strictly according to legal form 
for Frere Guillaume to summon Philippe to arrest those within 
his territories and bring them before the Inquisition for trial. As 

* Villani Chron. vin. 91-2.— Raynald. aim. 1311, No. 26.— Ptol. Lucens. Hist. 
Eccles. Lib. xxiv. (Muratori S. R. I. XI. 1228).— Contin. Guill. Naugiac. arm. 1307. 
— Raynouard, pp. 18, 19.— Van Os De Abol. Ord. Templar, p. 43.— Proces des 
Templiers, II. 400.— Mag. Bull. Rom. IX. 131.— Proces, I. 95.— Du Puy, Traitez 
concernant 1'Histoire de France, Paris, 1700, pp. 10, 117. 


the enterprise was a large one, secrecy and combined operations 
were requisite for its success, and Philippe, as soon as Clement's 
letter had shown him that he was not to expect immediate papal 
co-operation, lost no time. He always asserted that he had acted 
under requisition from the inquisitor, and excused his haste by de- 
claring that his victims were collecting their treasures and prepar- 
ing to fly. On September 14 royal letters were sent out to the 
king's representatives throughout France, ordering the simultane- 
ous arrest, under authority from Frere Guillaume. of all members 
of the Order on October 13, and the sequestration of all property. 
Frere Guillaume, on September 20, addressed all inquisitors and 
all Dominican priors, sub-priors, and lectors, commissioning them 
to act, and reciting the crimes of the Templars, which he charac- 
terized as sufficient to move the earth and disturb the elements. 
He had, he said, examined the witnesses, he had summoned the 
king to lend his aid, and he cunningly added that the pope was 
informed of the charges. The royal instructions were that the 
Templars when seized were to be strictly guarded in solitary con- 
finement ; they were to be brought before the inquisitorial com- 
missioners one by one ; the articles of accusation were to be read 
over to them ; they were to be promised pardon if they would 
confess the truth and return to the Church, and be told that other- 
wise they were to be put to death, while torture was not to be 
spared in extracting confession. The depositions so obtained were 
to be sent to the king as speedily as possible, under the seals of 
the inquisitors. AH Templar property was to be sequestrated and 
careful inventories be made out. In undertaking an act which 
would shock public opinion in no common fashion, it was neces- 
sary that it should be justified at once by the confessions wrung 
from the prisoners, and nothing was to be spared, whether by 
promises, threats, or violence, to secure the result.* 

* Du Puy, pp. 18-19, 86. — Stemler, Contingent zur Geschichte der Templer, 
Leipzig, 1783, pp. 36-50. — Pissot, Proems et Condamnation des Templiers, Palis, 
1805, pp. 39-43. 

Clement V., in his letters of November 21 to Edward of England, and No- 
vember 22 to Robert, Duke of Calabria, describes Philippe as having acted under 
the orders of the Inquisition, and as presenting the prisoners for judgment to the 
Church (Rymer III. 30 ; MSS. Chioccarello, T. VIII.). The Holy Office was rec- 
ognized at the time as being the responsible instrumentality of the whole affair 


This was all strictly in accordance with inquisitorial practice, 
and the result corresponded with the royal expectations. Under 
the able management of Guillaume de Nogaret, to whom the di- 
rection of the affair was confided, on October 13 at daybreak the 
arrests took place throughout the land, but few of the Templars 
escaping. Nogaret himself took charge of the Paris Temple, 
where about a hundred and forty Templars, with de Molay and 
his chief officials at their head, were seized, and the vast treasure 
of the Order fell into the king's hands. The air had been thick 
with presages of the impending storm, but the Templars under- 
rated the audacity of the king and had made no preparations to 
avert the blow. Now they were powerless in the hands of the 
unsparing tribunal which could at will prove them guilty out of 
their own mouths, and hold them up to the scorn and detestation 
of mankind.* 

Philippe's first care was to secure the support of public opinion 
and allay the excitement caused by this unexpected move. The 
next day, Saturday, October 14, the masters of the university and 
the cathedral canons were assembled in Notre Dame, where Guil- 
laume de Nogaret, the Prevot of Paris, and other royal officials 
made a statement of the offences which had been proved against 
the Templars. The following day, Sunday the 15th, the people 
were invited to assemble in the garden of the royal palace, where 
the matter was explained to them by the Dominicans and the 
royal spokesmen, while similar measures were adopted through- 
out the kingdom. On Monday, the 16th, royal letters were ad- 
dressed to all the princes of Christendom announcing the dis- 
covery of the Templar heresy, and urging them to aid the king 
in the defence of the faith by following his example. At once 

(Chron. Fran. Pipini c. 49 ap. Muratori S. R. I. IX. 749-50). The bull Faciens 
misericordiam, of August 12, 1308, gives the inquisitors throughout Europe in- 
structions to participate in the subsequent proceedings (Mag. Bull. Rom. IX. 136). 

In fact, the whole matter was strictly inquisitorial business, and it is a note- 
worthy fact that where the Inquisition was in good working order, as in France 
and Italy, there was no difficulty in obtaining the requisite evidence. In Castile 
and Germany it failed ; in England, as we shall see, nothing could be done until 
the Inquisition was practically established temporarily for the purpose. 

* Dom Bouquet, XXI. 448. — Vaissette, IV. 139. — Chron. Anon. (Bouquet, 
XXI. 137, 149).— Cont. Guill. Nangiac. ann. 1307.— Joann. de S.Victor. (Bouquet, 
XXI. 649).— Proces des Templiers, I. 458; II. 373. 


the Inquisition was set busily at work. From October 19 to No- 
vember 24 Frere Guillaume and his assistants were employed in 
recording the confessions of a hundred and thirty-eight prison- 
ers captured in the Temple, and so efficacious were the means 
employed that but three refused to admit at least some of the 
charges. What these methods were the records of course fail to 
show, for, as we have seen, the official confession was alwa} r s made 
after removal from the torture -chamber, and the victim was re- 
quired to swear that it was free and unconstrained, without fear 
or force, though he knew that if he retracted what he had uttered 
or promised to utter on the rack he would be liable to fresh tort- 
ure, or to the stake as a relapsed heretic. The same scenes were 
enacting all over France, where the commissioners of Frere Guil- 
laume, and sometimes Frere Guillaume himself, with the assistance 
of the royal officials, were engaged in the same work. In fact, 
the complaisant Guillaume, in default of proper material for labor 
so extensive, seems occasionally to have commissioned the royal 
deputies to act. A few of the reports of these examinations have 
been preserved, from Champagne, Xormandy, Querci, Bigorre, 
Beaucaire, and Languedoc, and in these the occasional allusions 
to torture show that it was employed whenever necessary. In all 
cases, of course, it was not required, for the promise of pardon and 
the threat of burning would frequently suffice, in conjunction with 
starvation and the harshness of the prison. The rigor of the ap- 
plication of the inquisitorial process is shown by the numerous 
deaths and the occasional suicides prompted by despair to which 
the records bear testimony. In Paris alone, according to the tes- 
timony of Ponsard de Gisiac, thirty-six Templars perished under 
torture ; at Sens, Jacques de Saciac said that twenty-five had died 
of torment and suffering, and the mortality elsewhere was noto- 
rious. When a number of the Templars subsequently repeated 
their confessions before the pope and cardinals in consistory, they 
dwelt upon the excessive tortures which they had endured, al- 
though Clement in reporting the result was careful to specify that 
their confessions were free and unconstrained. De Molay, of 
coarse, was not spared. He was speedily brought into a comply- 
ing state of mind. Although his confession, October 24, is exceed- 
ingly brief, and only admits a portion of the errors charged, yet 
he was induced to sign a letter addressed to the brethren stating 



that he had confessed and recommending them to do the same, as 
having been deceived by ancient error. As soon as he and other 
chiefs of the Order were thus committed, the masters and students 
of all the faculties of the university were summoned to meet in 
the Temple ; the wretched victims were brought before them and 
were required to repeat their confessions, which they did, with 
the addition that these errors had prevailed in the Order for thir- 
ty years and more.* 

The errors charged against them were virtually five : I. That 
when a neophyte was received the preceptor led him behind the 
altar, or to the sacristy or other secret place, showed him a crucifix 
and made him thrice renounce the prophet and spit upon the cross. 
II. He was then stripped, and the preceptor kissed him thrice, on 
the posteriors, the navel, and the mouth. III. He was then told 
that unnatural lust was lawful, and it was commonly indulged in 
throughout the Order. IV. The cord which the Templars wore 
over the shirt day and night as a symbol of chastity had been 
consecrated by wrapping it around an idol in the form of a human 
head with a great beard, and this head was adored in the chapters, 
though only known to the Grand Master and the elders. Y. The 
priests of the Order do not consecrate the host in celebrating 
mass. When, in August, 1308, Clement sent throughout Europe a 
series of articles for the interrogation of the accused, drawn up for 
him by Philippe, and varying according to different recensions 
from eighty-seven to one hundred and twenty-seven in number, 
these charges were elaborated, and varied on the basis of the im- 
mense mass of confessions which had meanwhile been obtained. 
The indecent kisses were represented as mutual between the re- 
ceptor and the received ; disbelief in the sacrament of the altar 
was asserted ; a cat was said to appear in the chapters and to be 
worshipped ; the Grand Master or preceptor presiding in a chap- 
ter was held to have power of absolving from all sin ; all brethren 

* Joann. de S.Victor (Bouquet, XXL 649-50).— Contin. Guill. Nangiac. ann. 
1307. — Chron. Anon. (Bouquet, XXL 137). — Schottmuller, op. cit. I. 131-33 — 
Zurita, Anales de Aragon, Lib. v. c. 73.— Proces des Templiers, II. 6, 375, 386, 394. 
— Du Puy, pp. 25-6, 88-91, 101-6.— Rayuouard, pp. 39-40, 164, 235-8, 240-5.— 
Proces des Templiers, I. 36, 69, 203, 301 ; II. 305-6.— Ptol. Lucens. Hist. Eccles. 
Lib. xxrv. (Muratori S. R. I. XL 1230).— Trithem. Chron. Hirsaug. ann. 1307.— 
Chron. Anon. (Bouquet, XXL 149). 


were instructed to acquire property for the Order by fair means 
or foul, and all the above were declared to be fixed and absolute 
rules of the Order, dating from a time beyond the memory of any 
member. Besides these, it was reproached for the secrecy of its 
proceedings and neglect in the distribution of alms. Even this, 
however, did not satisfy the public imagination, and the most 
absurd exaggerations found credence, such as we have so frequently 
seen in the case of other heresies. The Templars were said to have 
admitted betraying St. Louis and the stronghold of Acre, and that 
they had such arrangements with the Soldan of Babylon that if a 
new crusade were undertaken the Christians would all be sold to 
him. They had conveyed away a portion of the royal treasure, 
to the great injury of the kingdom. The cord of chastity was 
magnified into a leather belt, worn next the skin, and the mahom- 
merie of this girdle was so powerful that as long as it was worn 
no Templar could abandon his errors. Sometimes a Templar who 
died in this false belief was burned, and of his ashes a powder was 
made which confirmed the neophytes in their infidelity. AVhen 
a child was born of a virgin to a Templar it was roasted, and of 
its fat an ointment was made wherewith to anoint the idol wor- 
shipped in the chapters, to which, according to other rumors, 
human sacrifices were offered. Such were the stories which passed 
from mouth to mouth and served to intensify popular abhorrence.* 
It is, perhaps, necessary at this point to discuss the still mooted 
question as to the guilt or innocence of the Order. Disputants 
have from various motives been led to find among the Templars 
Manichsean, Gnostic, and Cabalistic errors justifying their destruc- 
tion. Hammer-Purgstall boasted that he had discovered and 
identified no less than thirty Templar images, in spite of the fact 
that at the time of their sudden arrest the Inquisition, aided by the 
eager creatures of Philippe, was unable to lay its hands on a single 
one. The only thing approaching it was a metal reliquary in 
the form of a female head produced from the Paris Temple, wmich, 
on being opened, was found to contain a small skull preserved as a 
relic of the eleven thousand virgins. + 

* Pissot, pp. 41-2. — Procks des Templiers, I. 89 sqq. — Mag. Bull. Roman. IX. 
129 sqq. — Raynouard, p. 50. — Grandes Chroniques V. 188-90. — Chron. Auon. 
(Bouquet, XXI. 137).— Naucleri Chron. ann. 1306. 

t Wilcke, II. 424.— Proces des Templiers, II. 218. — The flimsiness of the evi- 


This fact alone would serve to dispose of the gravest of the 
charges, for, if the depositions of some of the accused are to be be- 
lieved, these idols were kept in every commandery and were em- 
ployed in every reception of a neophyte. With regard to the 
other accusations, not admitting thus of physical proof, it is to be 
observed that much has been made by modern theorists of the 

dence which suffices to satisfy archaeologists of this kind is seen in the labor- 
ious trifling of M. Mignard, who finds in a sculptured stone coffer, discovered at 
Essarois in 1789, all the secrets of gnostic Manichaeism, and who thereupon leaps 
to the conclusion that the coffer must have belonged to the Templars who had 
a preceptory within eight or ten miles of the place, and that it served as a re- 
ceptacle for the Baphometic idol (Mignard, Monographic du coffret de M. le 
due de Blacas, Paris, 1852.— Suite, 1853). 

It is impossible to listen without respect to Professor Hans Prutz, whose 
labors in the archives of Valetta I have freely quoted above, and one can only 
view with regret the efforts of such a man wasted in piecing together contra- 
dictory statements of tortured witnesses to evolve out of them a dualistic heresy 
— an amalgamation of Catharan elements with Luciferan beliefs, to which even 
the unlucky Stedingers contribute corroboration (Geheimlehre u. Geheimsta- 
tuten des Tempelherren-Ordens, Berlin, 1879, pp. 62, 86, 100). It ought to be 
sufficient to prevent such wasted labor for the future, to call attention to the fact 
that if there had been ardor and conviction enough in the Order to risk the 
organization and propagation of a new heresy, there would, unquestionably, have 
been at least a few martyrs, such as all other heretical sects furnished. Yet not 
a single Templar avowed the faith attributed to them and persisted in it. All 
who confessed under the stress of the prosecution eagerly abjured the errors 
attributed to them and asked for absolution. A single case of obstinacy would 
have been worth to Philippe and Clement all the other testimony, and would 
have been made the pivotal point of the trials, but there was not one such. All 
the Templars who were burned were martyrs of another sort — men who had con- 
fessed under torture, had retracted their confessions, and who preferred the stake 
to the disgrace of persisting in the admission extorted from them. It does not 
seem to occur to the ingenious framers of heretical beliefs for the Templars that 
they must construct a heresy whose believers will not suffer death in its defence, 
but will endure to be burned in scores rather than submit to the stigma of hav- 
ing it ascribed to them. The mere statement of the case is enough to show the 
fabulous character of all the theories so laboriously constructed, especially that of 
M. Mignard, who proves that the Templars were Cathari— heretics wl?ose aspira- 
tion for martyrdom was peculiarly notorious. 

I have not been able to consult Loiseleur's " La Doctrine Secrete des Tem- 
pliers" (Orleans, 1872), but from Prutz's references to it I gather that it is 
grounded on the same false basis and is open to the same easy refutation. 
Wilcke's speculations are too perversely crude to be worth attention. 


fact that the rules and statutes of the Order were reserved exclu- 
sively for its chiefs, and it has been assumed that in them were 
developed the secret mysteries of the heresy. Yet nothing of the 
kind was alleged in the proceedings ; the statutes were never 
offered in evidence by the prosecution, although many of them 
must have been obtained in the sudden seizure, and this for the 
best of reasons. Sedulously as they were destroyed, two or three 
copies escaped, and these, carefully collated, have been printed. 
They breathe nothing but the most ascetic piety and devotion to 
the Church, and the numerous illustrative cases cited in them show 
that up to a period not long anterior to the destruction of the 
Order there were constant efforts made to enforce the rigid Eule 
framed by St. Bernard and promulgated by the Council of Troves 
in 1128. Thus there is absolutely no external evidence against the 
Order, and the proof rests entirely upon confessions extracted by 
the alternative of pardon or burning, by torture, by the threat of 
torture, or by the indirect torture of prison and starvation, which 
the Inquisition, both papal and episcopal, know so well how to 
employ. We shall see, in the development of the affair, that when 
these agencies were not employed no admissions of criminality 
could be obtained.* ]So one who had studied the criminal juris- 

* Writers unfamiliar with the judicial processes of the period are misled by 
the customary formula, to the effect that the confirmation of a confession is not 
obtained by force or fear of torture. See Raynald. ann. 1307, No. 12, and Bini, 
Dei Tempieri in Toscana, p. 428. Wilcke asserts positively (op. cit. II. 318) 
that de Molay never was tortured, which may possibly be true (Amalr. Auger. 
Vit. Clem. V. ap. Muratori III. ii. 461), but he saw his comrades around him sub- 
jected to torture, and it was a mere question of strength of nerve whether he 
yielded before or after the rack. Prutz even says that in England neither tort- 
ure nor terrorism was employed (Geheimlehre, p. 104), which we will see below 
was not the case. Van Os (De Abol. Ord. Tempi, pp. 107, 109) is bolder, and 
argues that a confession confirmed after torture is as convincing as if no torture 
had been used. He carefully suppresses the fact, however, that retraction was 
held to be relapse and entailed death by burning. 

How the system worked is illustrated by the examination of the Preceptor of 
Cyprus, Raimbaud de Caron, before the inquisitor Guillaume, Nov. 10, 1307. 
When first interrogated he would only admit that he had been told in the 
presence of his uncle, the Bishop of Carpentras, that he would have to renounce 
Christ to obtain admission. He was then removed and subsequently brought 
back, when he remembered that at his reception he had been forced to renounce 


prudence of the later Middle Ages will attach the slightest weight 
to confessions obtained under such conditions. We have seen, in 
the case of the Stedingers, how easy it was to create belief in the 
most groundless charges. We have seen, under Conrad of Mar- 
burg, how readily the fear of death and the promise of absolution 
would cause nobles of birth and station to convict themselves of 
the foulest and most impossible offences. We shall see, when we 
come to consider persecution for witchcraft, with what facility the 
rack and strappado procured from victims of all ranks confessions 
of participating in the Sabbat, and of holding personal intercourse 
with demons, of charming away harvests, of conjuring hail-storms, 
and of killing men and cattle with spells. Riding through the 
air on a broomstick, and commerce with incubi and succubi rest 
upon evidence of precisely the same character and of much greater 
weight than that upon w r hich the Templars were convicted, for 
the witch was sure of burning if she confessed, and had a chance 
of escaping if she could endure the torture, while the Templar was 
threatened with death for obstinacy, and was promised immunity 
as a reward for confession. If we accept the evidence against the 
Templar we cannot reject it in the case of the witch. 

As the testimony thus has no intrinsic weight, the only scien- 
tific method of analyzing the affair is to sift the whole mass of 
confessions, and determine their credibility according to the in- 
ternal evidence w r hich they afford of being credible or otherwise. 
Several hundred depositions have reached us, taken in France, 
England, and Italy, for the most part naturally those incriminat- 
ing the Order, for the assertions of innocence were usually sup- 
pressed, and the most damaging witnesses were made the most of. 
These are sufficiently numerous to afford us ample material for 
estimating the character of the proof on which the Order was 
condemned, and to obtain from them a reasonable approximation 
to the truth requires only the application of a few tests suggested 
by common-sense. 

There is, firstly, the extreme inherent improbability that a rich, 

Christ and spit on the cross, and had been taught that the gratification of un- 
natural lust was permissible. Yet this confession, so evidently the result of tort- 
ure, winds up with the customary formula that he swore it was not the result of 
force or fear of prison or torture. — Proces, II. 374-5. 


worldly, and ambitious body of men like the Templars should be 
secretly engaged in the dangerous and visionary task of laying the 
foundations of a new religion, which would bring them no advan- 
tage if they succeeded in supplanting Christianity, and which was 
certain to lead them to destruction in the infinite chances of detec- 
tion. To admit this is to ascribe to them a spiritual exaltation 
and a readiness for martyrdom which we might expect from the 
asceticism of a Catharan or a Dolcinist, but not from the worldli- 
ness which was the real corroding vice of the Order. Secondly, 
if the Templars were thus engaged in the desperate enterprise of 
propagating a new faith under the eyes of the Inquisition, they 
would be wary in initiating strangers ; they would exercise ex- 
treme caution as to the admission of members, and only reyeal to 
them their secrets by degrees, as they found them worthy of con- 
fidence and zealously willing to incur the risk of martyrdom. 
Thirdly, if a new dogma were thus secretly taught as an indispen- 
sable portion of the Kule, its doctrines would be rigidly defined 
and its ritual be closely administered. The witnesses who con- 
fessed to initiation would all tell the same story and give the same 

Thus evidence of the weightiest and most coherent character 
would be requisite to overcome the inherent improbability that 
the Templars could be embarked in an enterprise so insane, in 
place of which we have only confessions extracted by the threat 
or application of torture, and not a single instance of a persistent 
heretic maintaining the belief imputed to him. Turning to the 
testimony to see whether it comports Avith the conditions which 
we have named, we find that no discrimination whatever was 
exercised in the admission of neophytes. Xot a single witness 
speaks of any preliminary preparation, though several intimate 
that they obtained entrance by making over their property to the 
Order.* Indeed, one of the charges was, that there was no pre- 
liminary probation, and that the neophyte at once became a pro- 
fessed member in full standing, which, as explained by a knight of 
Mas Deu, was because their services were considered to be at once 
required against the Saracens.f Youths and even children of 
tender years were admitted, although in violation of the statutes 

* Procfcs, II. 188, 407. t Ibid. II. 451. 


of the Order, of ages ranging from ten or eleven years upward.* 
High-born knights, priding themselves on their honor, priests, la- 
borers, husbandmen, menials of all kinds were brought in, and, if 
we are to believe their evidence, they were without notice obliged, 
by threats of death and lifelong imprisonment, to undergo the 
severest personal humiliation, and to perform the awful task of 
renouncing their Saviour and spitting on, or even more outra- 
geously defiling, the cross which was the object of their veneration 
and the symbol of their faith. Such a method of propagating 
heresy by force in the Europe of the Inquisition, of trusting such 
fearful secrets to children and to unwilling men of all conditions, 
is so absurd that its mere assertion deprives the testimony of all 
claim to credence. 

Equally damaging to the credibility of the evidence is the self- 
contradictory character of its details. It was obtained by examin- 
ing the accused on a series of charges elaborately drawn up, and 
by requiring answers to each article in succession, so that the gen- 
eral features of the so-called confessions were suggested in advance. 
Had the charges been true there could have been little variation 
in the answers, but in place of a definite faith or a systematic 
ritual we find every possible variation that could suggest itself to 
witnesses striving to invent stories that should satisfy their tort- 
urers. Some say that they were taught Deism — that God in 
heaven alone was to be worshipped.f Others, that they were 
forced to renounce God.:}; The usual formula reported, however, 
was simply to renounce Christ, or Jesus, while others were called 
upon to renounce Notre Sire, or la Profeta, or Christ, the Virgin, 
and the Saints.§ Some professed that they could not recollect 
whether their renunciation had been of God or of Christ. II Some- 

* Proces, I. 241, 412, 415, 602, 611 ; II. 7, 295, 298, 354, 359, 382, 394.— Regie, 
§7, p. 211. 

t Proces, I. 213, 332 ; II. 388,404.— Raynouard, p. 281.— In this and the fol- 
lowing notes I can only give a few references as examples. To do so exhaust- 
ively would be to make an analytical index of the whole voluminous mass of 

I Proces, I. 206, 242, 302, 378, 386, etc. ; II. 5, 27, etc. 

§ Proces, I. 254, 417 ; II. 24, 62, 72, 104.— Bini, Dei Tempieri in Toscana, pp. 
463, 470, 478. 

U Proces, II. 42, 44, 59. 


times we hear that instruction was given that they should not 
believe in Christ, that he was a false prophet, that he suffered for 
his own sins, but more frequently that the only reason alleged was 
that such was the Rule of the Order. * It was the same with the 
idol which has so greatly exercised the imagination of commen- 
tators. Some witnesses swore that it was produced whenever a 
neophyte was received, and that its adoration was a part of the 
ceremony ; others that it was only exhibited and worshipped in 
the secrecy of chapters ; by far the greater number, however, had 
never seen it or heard of it. Of those who professed to have seen 
it, scarce two described it alike, within the limits suggested by the 
articles of accusation, which spoke of it as a head. Sometimes it 
is black, sometimes white, sometimes with black hair, and some- 
times white and black mixed, and again with a long white beard. 
Some witnesses saw its neck and shoulders covered with gold ; one 
declared that it was a demon {Maufe) on which no one could look 
without trembling ; another that it had for eyes carbuncles which 
lighted up the room ; another that it had two faces ; another three 
faces ; another four legs, two behind and two before, and yet an- 
other said it was a statue with three heads. On one occasion it is 
a picture, on another a painting on a plaque, on another a small fe- 
male figure which the preceptor draws from under his garments, 
and on another the statue of a boy, a cubit in height, sedulously 
concealed in the treasury of the preceptory. According to the tes- 
timony of one witness it degenerated into a calf. Sometimes it is 
called the Saviour, and sometimes Bafomet or Maguineth — corrup- 
tions of Mahomet — and is worshipped as Allah. Sometimes it is 
God, creating all things, causing the trees to bloom and the grass to 
germinate, and then again it is a friend of God who can approach 
him and intercede for the suppliant. Sometimes it gives responses, 
and sometimes it is accompanied or replaced by the devil in the 
form of a black or gray cat or raven, who occasionally answers the 
questions addressed to him, the performance winding up, like the 
witches' Sabbat, with the introduction of demons in the form of 
beautiful women, f 

* Procfcs, I. 206-7, 294, 411, 426, 464, 533 ; II. 31, 128, 242, 366. 
t Proems, L 190, 207, 399, 502, 597; II. 193, 203, 212, 279. 300, 313, 315, 363, 
384.— Du Puy, pp. 105-6.— Raynouard, pp. 246-8, 279-83, 293.— Bini, pp. 465, 


Similar contradictions are observable in the evidence as to the 
ritual of reception. The details laid down in the Eule are accu- 
rately and uniformly described, but when the witnesses come to 

474, 482, 487, 488.— Wilkins, Concilia, II. 358.— Schottmiiller, op. cit. II. 29, 50, 
68, 70, 127, 410, 411.— Vaissette, IV. 141.— Stemler, pp. 124-5. 

It is in this multiform creature of the imagination that Dr. Wilcke (II. 131-2) 
sees alternately an image of John the Baptist and the triune Makroposopus of the 

Among the few outside witnesses who appeared before the papal commission 
in 1310-11, was Antonio Sicci of Vercelli, imperial and apostolic notary, who 
forty years before had served the Templars in Syria in that capacity, and had 
recently been employed in the case by the Inquisition of Paris. Among his 
Eastern experiences he gravely related a story current in Sidon that a lord of 
that city once loved desperately but fruitlessly a noble maiden of Armenia; she 
died, and, like Periander of Corinth, on the night of her burial he opened her 
tomb and gratified his passion. A mysterious voice said, " Return in nine months 
and you will find a head, your son 1" In due time he came back and found 
a human head in the tomb, when the voice said, " Guard this head, for all your 
good-fortune will come from it !" At the time the witness heard this, Matthieu 
le Sauvage of Picardy was Preceptor of Sidon, who had established brotherhood 
with the Soldan of Babylon by each drinking the other's blood. Then a certain 
Julian, who had succeeded to Sidon and to the possession of the head, entered 
the Order and gave to it the town and all his wealth. He was subsequently 
expelled and entered the Hospitallers, whom he finally abandoned for the Pre- 
monstratensians (Proces, I. 645-6). This somewhat irrelevant and disconnected 
story so impressed the commissioners that they made Antonio reduce it to writ- 
ing himself, and lost no subsequent opportunity of inquiring about the head 
of Sidon from all other witnesses who had been in Syria. Shortly afterwards 
Jean Senandi, who had lived in Sidon for five years, informed them that the 
Templars purchased the city, and that Julian, who had been one of its lords, 
entered the Order but apostatized and died in poverty. One of his ancestors 
was said to have loved a maiden and abused her corpse, but he had heard noth- 
ing of the head (lb. II. 140). Pierre de Nobiliac had been for many years be- 
yond seas, but had likewise never heard of it (lb. 215). At length their curiosity 
was gratified by Hugues de Faure, who confirmed the fact that Sidon had been 
purchased by the Grand Master, Thomas Berard (1257-1273), and added that 
after the fall of Acre he had heard in Cyprus that the heiress of Maraclea, in Trip- 
oli, had been loved by a noble who had exhumed her body and violated it, and 
cut off her head, a voice telling him to guard it well, for it would destroy all who 
looked upon it. He wrapped it up and kept it in a coffer, and in Cyprus, when 
he wished to destroy a town or the Greeks, he would uncover it and accomplish 
his purpose. Desiring to destroy Constantinople he sailed thither with it, but 
his old nurse, curious to know what was in the coffer so carefully preserved, 


speak of the sacrilegious rites imputed to them, they flounder among 
almost every variation that could suggest itself to their imagina- 
tions. Usually renunciation of God or Christ and spitting on the 
cross are both required, but in many cases renunciation without 
spitting suffices, and in as many more spitting without renuncia- 
tion.* Occasionally spitting is not sufficient, but trampling is added, 
and even urination ; indeed some over-zealous witnesses declared 
that the Templars assembled yearly to perform the latter cere- 
mony, while others, while admitting the sacrilege of their reception 
rites, say that the yearly adoration of the cross on Good Friday, 
prescribed in the Rule, was also observed with great devotion.f 
Generally a plain cross is described as the object of contempt, but 
sometimes a crucifix is used, or a painting of the crucifixion in an 
illuminated missal ; the cross on the preceptor's mantle is a com- 
mon device, and even two straws laid crosswise on the ground suf- 
fices. In some cases spitting thrice upon the ground was only 
required, without anything being said as to its being in disrespect 
of Christ.^ Many witnesses declared that the sacrilege was per- 
formed in full view of the assembled brethren, others that the 
neophyte was taken into a dark corner, or behind the altar, or into 
another room carefully closed ; in one case it took place in a field, 
in another in a grange, in another in a cooper-shop, and in another 

opened it, when a sudden storm burst over the ship and sank it with all on 
board, except a few sailors who escaped to tell the tale. Since then no fish have 
been found in that part of the sea (lb. 223-4). Guillaume Avril had been seven 
years beyond seas without hearing of the head, but had been told that in the 
whirlpool of Setalias a head sometimes appeared, and then all the vessels there 
were lost (lb. 238). All this rubbish was sent to the Council of Vienne as part 
of the evidence against the Order 

* Proces, I. 233, 242, 250, 414, 423, 429, 533, 536, 546, etc. 

t Proces, I. 233 ; II. 219, 232, 237, 264,— Raynouard, 274-5, 279-80.— Bini, pp. 
463, 497. 

At the feast of the Holy Cross in May and September, and on Good Friday, 
the Templars all assembled, and, laying aside shoes and head-gear and swords, 
adored the cross, with the hymn — 

Ador te Crist et benesesc te Crist 

Qui per la sancta tua crou nos resemist. — 

(Proces, II. 474, 491, 503.) 

X Proces, I. 233, 250, 536, 539, 541, 546, 606 ; II. 226, 232, 336, 360, 369.— 
Piaynouard, p. 275. 


in a room used for the manufacture of shoes.* As a rule the pre- 
ceptor was represented as enforcing it, but in many cases the duty 
was confided to one or more serving brethren, and in one instance 
the person officiating had his head hidden in a cowl.f Almost 
universally it formed part of the ceremonies of reception, some- 
times even before the vows were administered or the mantle be- 
stowed, but generally at the conclusion, after the neophyte was 
fully committed, but there were occasional instances in which it 
was postponed until a later hour, or to the next day, or to longer 
intervals, extending, in one or two cases, to months and years.:): 
Some witnesses declared that it formed part of all receptions; 
others that it had been enforced in their case, but they had never 
seen it or heard of it in other receptions at which they had been 
present. In general they swore that they were told it was a rule 
of the Order, but some said that it was explained to them as a joke, 
and others that they were told to do it with the mouth and not 
with the heart. One, indeed, deposed that he had been offered the 
choice between renouncing Christ, spitting on the cross, and the 
indecent kiss, and he selected the spitting.§ In fact, the evidence 
as to the enforcement of the sacrilege is hopelessly contradictory. 
In many cases the neophyte was excused after a slight resistance ; 
in others he was thrust into a dark dungeon until he yielded. 
Egidio, Preceptor of San Gemignano of Florence, stated that he 
had known two recalcitrant neophytes carried in chains to Eome, 
where they perished in prison, and Niccold Kegino, Preceptor of 
Grosseto, said that recusants were slain, or sent to distant parts, 
like Sardinia, where they ended their days. Geoffroi de Charney, 
Preceptor of Normandy, swore that he enforced it upon the first 
neophyte whom he received, but that he never did so afterwards, 
and Gui Dauphin, one of the high officers of the Order, said virtu- 
ally the same thing ; Gaucher de Liancourt, Preceptor of Keims, 
on the other hand, testified that he had required it in all cases, for 

* Proems, I. 530, 533, 536, 539, 544, 549, 565, 572, 622 ; II. 24, 27, 29, 31, 120, 
280, 362, 546, 579.— Schottmuller, II. 413. 

t Proems, I. 386, 536, 539, 565, 572, 592. 

X Proces, I. 413, 434, 444, 469, 504, 559, 562; II. 75, 99, 113, 123, 205.— Ray- 
nouard, p. 280.— Schottmuller, op. cit. II. 132, 410. 

§ Proces, I. 407, 418, 435, 462, 572, 588 ; II. 27, 38, 67, 174, 185, 214. 
III.— 18 


if he had not he would have been imprisoned for life, and Hugues 
de Peraud, the Visitor of France, declared that it was obligatory 
on him.* 

It would be a work of supererogation to pursue this examina- 
tion further. The same irreconcilable confusion reigns in the evi- 
dence as to the other charges — the cord of chastity, the obscene 
kiss, the mutilation of the canon of the mass,f the power of abso- 
lution assigned to the Grand Master, the license for unnatural 
crime. It might be argued, as these witnesses had been received 
into the Order at times varying from fifty to sixty years previous 
to within a few months, and at places so widely apart as Palestine 
and England, that these variations are explicable by local usages 
or by a gradually perfected belief and ritual. An investigation of 
the confessions shows, however, that no such explanation will suf- 
fice ; there can be no grouping as to the time or place of the cere- 
mony. Yet there can be a grouping which is of supreme signifi- 
cance, a grouping as to the tribunal through which the witness 
passed. This is often very notable among the two hundred and 
twenty-five who were sent to the papal commission from various 
parts of France, and examined in 1310 and 1311. As a rule they 
manifested extreme anxiety that their present depositions should 
accord with those which they had made when subject to inquisi- 
tion by the bishops — doubtless they made them as nearly so as 
their memories would permit — and it is easy to see how greater or 
less rigor, or how concert between those confined in the same pris- 
on, had led to the concoction of stories such as would satisfy their 

* Proces, I. 404; II. 260, 281, 284, 295, 299, 338, 354, 356, 363, 389, 3C0, 395, 
407.— Bini, pp. 468, 488. 

It is not easy to appreciate the reasoning of Michelet (Proces, II. vii.-viii.), 
■who argues that the uniformity of denial in a series of depositions taken by the 
Bishop of Elne suggests concert of statement agreed upon in advance, while the 
variations in those who admitted guilt are an evidence of their veracity. If the 
Templars were innocent, denials of the charges read to them seriatim would be 
necessarily identical ; if they were guilty, the confessions would be likewise uni- 
form. Thus the identity of the one group and the diversity of the other both 
concur to disprove the accusations. 

t Incontrovertible evidence that the Templar priests did not mutilate the 
words of consecration in the mass is furnished in the Cypriote i^roceedings by 
ecclesiastics who had long dwelt with them in the East. — Processus Cypricus 
^Schottmiiller, II. 379, 382, 383). 


judges. Thus the confessions obtained by the Ordinary of Poi- 
tiers have a character distinct from those extorted by the Bishop 
of Clermont, and we can classify the penitents of the Bishop of 
Le Mans, the Archbishop of Sens, the Archbishop of Tours, the 
Bishops of Amiens, Rodez, Macon, in fact of nearly all the prelates 
who took part in the terrible drama.* 

Another feature indicating the untrustworthy character of the 
evidence is that large numbers of the witnesses swore that they 
had confessed the sacrilege committed to priests and friars of all 
kinds, to bishops, and even to papal penitentiaries, and had received 
absolution by the imposition of penance, usually of a trifling char- 
acter, such as fasting on Fridays for a few months or a year.f No 
ordinary confessor could absolve for heresy ; it was a sin reserved 
for the inquisitor, papal or episcopal. The most that the con- 
fessor could have done would have been to send the penitent to 
some one competent to grant absolution, which would only have 
been administered under the heaviest penance, including denunci- 
ation of the Order. To suppose, in fact, that thousands of men, 
during a period of fifty or a hundred years, could have been en- 
trapped into such a heresy without its becoming matter of noto- 
riety, is in itself so violent an assumption as to deprive the whole 
story of all claims upon belief. 

Thus the more closely the enormous aggregate of testimony is 
examined the more utterly worthless it appears, and this is con- 
firmed by the fact that nowhere could compromising evidence be 
obtained without the use of inquisitorial methods. Had thousands 
of men been unwillingly forced to abjure their faith and been ter- 
rorized into keeping the dread secret, as soon as the pressure was 
removed by the seizure there would have been a universal eager- 
ness to unburden the conscience and seek reconciliation with the 
Church. JSTo torture would have been requisite to obtain all the 
evidence required. In view, therefore, of the extreme improba- 

* Proces, I. 230-1, 264-74, 296-307, 331-67, 477-93, 602-19, 621-41 ; II. 1-3, 
56-85, 91-114, 122-52, 154-77, 184-91, 234-56, 263-7. 

t Proces, I. 298, 305, 319, 336, 372, 401, 405, 427, 436, etc. 

It is not easy to understand the prescription of Friday fasting as a penance 
for a Templar, for the ascetic rules of the Order already required, the most rigid 
fasting. Meat was only allowed three days in the week, and a second Lent was 
kept from the Sunday before Martinmas until Christmas (Regie, §§ 15, 57). 


bility of the charge, of the means employed to obtain proof for its 
support, and the lack of coherence in the proof so obtained, it ap- 
pears to me that no judicial mind in possession of the facts can 
hesitate to pronounce a sentence, not merely of not proven, but of 
acquittal. The theory that there were inner grades in the Order, 
by which those alone to be trusted were initiated in its secret doc- 
trines, is perfectly untenable. As there is no evidence of any kind 
to support it, it is a matter of mere conjecture, which is sufficiently 
negatived by the fact that with scarce an exception those who con- 
fessed, whether ploughmen or knights, relate the sacrilege as tak- 
ing place on their admission. If the witnesses on whom the pros- 
ecution relied are to be believed at all, the infection pervaded the 
whole Order. 

Yet it is by no means improbable that there may have been 
some foundation for the popular gossip that the neophyte at his 
reception was forced to kiss the posteriors of his preceptor. As 
we have seen, a large majority of the Order consisted of serving 
brethren on whom the knights looked down with infinite con- 
tempt. Some such occasional command on the part of a reckless 
knight, to enforce the principle of absolute obedience, in admitting 
a plebeian to nominal fraternity and equality, would not have 
been foreign to the manners of the age. Who can say, moreover, 
that men, soured with the disillusion of life within the Order, 
chafing under the bonds of their irrevocable vow, and perhaps re- 
leased from all religious convictions amid the license of the East, 
may not occasionally have tested the obedience of a neophyte by 
bidding him to spit at the cross on the mantle that had grown 
hateful to him '(- Xo one who recognizes the wayward perversity 

* This would seem not unlikely if we are to believe the confession of Jean 
d'Aumones, a serving brother who stated that at his reception his preceptor 
turned all the other brethren out of the chapel, and after some difficulty forced 
him to spit at the cross, after which he said " Go, fool, and confess." This Jean 
at once did, to a Franciscan who imposed on him only the penance of three Fri- 
day fasts, saying that it was intended as a test of constancy in case of capture 
by the Saracens (Proces, I. 588-91). 

Another serving brother, Pierre de Cherrut, related that after he had been 
forced to renounce God his preceptor smiled disdainfully at him, as though de- 
spising him (lb. I. 531). 

Equally suggestive is the story, told by the serving brother Eudes de Bures, 


of human nature, or who is familiar with the condition of monas- 
ticism at the period, can deny the possibilities of such occasional 
performances, whether as brutal jokes or spiteful assertions of 
supremacy, but the only rational conclusion from the whole tre- 
mendous tragedy is that the Order was innocent of the crime for 
which it was punished. 

While Philippe was seizing his prey, Clement, at Poitiers, 
was occupied in the equally lucrative work of sending collectors 
throughout Germany to exact a tithe of all ecclesiastical revenues 
for the recovery of the Holy Land. When aroused from this 
with the news that Philippe, under the authority of Frere Guil- 
laume the inquisitor, had thus taken decided and irrevocable action 
in a matter which was still before him for consideration, his first 
emotion naturally was that of wounded pride and indignation, 
sharpened perhaps by the apprehension that he would not be able 
to secure his share of the spoils. He dared not publicly disavow 
responsibility for the act, and what would be the current of pub- 
lic opinion outside of France no man could divine. In this cruel 
dilemma he wrote to Philippe, October 27, 1307, expressing his 
indignation that the king should have taken action in a matter 
which the brief of August 24 showed to be receiving papal con- 
sideration. Carefully suppressing the fact of the intervention of 
the Inquisition which legally justified the whole proceeding, Clem- 

a youth of twenty at the time, that after his reception he was taken into another 
room by two of the brethren and forced to renounce Christ. On his refusing at 
first, one of them said that in his country people renounced God a hundred times 
for a flea — perhaps an exaggeration, but " Je renye Dieu " was one of the com- 
monest of expletives. When the preceptor heard him weeping he called to the 
tormentors to let him alone, as they would set him crazy, and he subsequently 
told Eudes that it was a joke (lb. II. 100-2). 

What is the real import of such incidents may be gathered from a story re- 
lated by a witness during the inquest held in Cyprus, May, 1310. He had heard 
from a Genoese named Matteo Zaccaria, who had long been a prisoner in Cairo, 
that when the news of the proceedings against the Order reached the Soldan 
of Egypt he drew from his prisons about forty Templars captured ten years be- 
fore on the island of Tortosa, and offered them wealth if they would renounce 
their religion. Surprised and angered by their refusal, he remanded them to 
their dungeons and ordered them to be deprived of food and drink, when they 
perished to a man rather than apostatize. — Schottmiiller, op. cit. II. 160. 


ent sought a further ground of complaint .by reminding the king 
that Templars were not under royal jurisdiction, but under that 
of the Holy See, and he had committed a grave act of disobedi- 
ence in seizing their persons and property, both of which must be 
forthwith delivered to two cardinals sent for the purpose. These 
were Berenger de Fredole, Cardinal of SS. JSTereo and Achille, 
and Etienne de Suissi of S. Ciriaco, both Frenchmen and creatures 
of Philippe, who had procured their elevation to the sacred college. 
He seems to have had no trouble in coming to an understanding 
with them, for, though the trials and tortures were pushed unre- 
mittingly, another letter of Clement's, December 1. praises the 
king for putting the matter in the hands of the Holy See, and one 
of Philippe's of December 24 announces that he had no intention 
of infringing on the rights of the Church and does not intend to 
abandon his own ; he has, he says, delivered the Templars to the 
cardinals, and the administration of their property shall be kept 
separate from that of the crown. Clement's susceptibilities be- 
ing thus soothed, even before the trials at Paris were ended he is- 
sued, November 22, the bull Pastoralis prcBeminentice, addressed to 
all the potentates of Europe, in which he related what Philippe 
had done at the requisition of the Inquisitor of France, in order 
that the Templars might be presented to the judgment of the 
Church; how the chiefs of the Order had confessed the crimes 
imputed to them ; how he himself had examined one of them who 
was employed about his person and had confirmed the truth of 
the allegations. Therefore he orders all the sovereigns to do like- 
wise, retaining the prisoners and holding their property in the 
name of the pope and subject to his order. Should the Order 
prove innocent the property is to be restored to it, otherwise it 
is to be employed for the recovery of the Holy Land.* This 

* Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. II. p. 95.— Du Puy, pp. 117-18, 124, 134.— Schott- 
miiller, I. 94.— Rymer, Feed. III. 30.— MSS. Chioccarello T. VIII.— Mag. Bull. 
Rom. IX. 126, 131.— Zurita, Lib. v. c. 73. 

Apparently there was a general expectation that the Hospitallers would share 
the fate of the Templars, and a disposition was manifested at once to pillage 
them, for Clement felt obliged, December 21, 1307, to issue a bull confirming all 
their privileges and immunities, and to send throughout Europe letters ordering 
them to be protected from all encroachments (Regest. Clem. PP. V. T III. pp. 
14, 17-18, 20-1, 273; T. IV. p. 418). 


was the irrevocable act which decided the fate of the Templars, as 
we shall see hereafter when we consider the action of the princes 
of Europe outside of France. 

Philippe thus had forced Clement's hand, and Clement was 
fairly committed to the investigation, which in the hands of the 
Inquisition could only end in the destruction of the Order. Secure 
in his position, the king pushed on the examination of the prison- 
ers throughout the kingdom, and the vigilance of his agents is 
shown in the case of two German Templars returning home, whom 
they arrested at Chaumont and delivered to the Inquisitor of the 
Three Bishoprics. One was a priest, the other a serving brother, 
and the inquisitor in reporting to Philippe says that he had not 
tortured the latter because he was very sick, but that neither had 
admitted that there was in the Order aught that was not pure 
and holy. The examinations went on during the winter of 1308, 
when Clement unexpectedly put a stop to them. "What was his 
motive we can only conjecture ; probably he found that Philippe's 
promises with regard to the Templar possessions were not likely 
to be fulfilled, and that an assertion of his control was necessary. 
Whatever his reasons, he suddenly suspended in the premises the 
power of all the inquisitors and bishops in France and evoked to 
himself the cognizance of the whole affair, alleging that the sud- 
denness of the seizure without consulting him, although so near 
and so accessible, had excited in him grave suspicions, which had 
not been allayed by the records of the examinations submitted to 
him, for these were of a character rather to excite incredulity — 
though in November he had proclaimed to all Christendom his 
conviction of their truth. It shows how completely the whole 
judicial proceedings were inquisitional that this brought them to 
an immediate close, provoking Philippe to uncontrollable wrath. 
Angrily he wrote to Clement that he had sinned greatly : even 
popes, he hints, may fall into heresy ; he had wronged all the prel- 
ates and inquisitors of France ; he had inspired the Templars 
with hopes and they were retracting their confessions, especially 
Hugues de Peraud, who had had the honor of dining with the 
cardinal-deputies. Evidently some intrigue was on foot, and Clem- 
ent was balancing, irresolute as to which side offered most advan- 
tage, and satisfied at least to show to Philippe that he was indis- 
pensable. Philippe at first was disposed to assert his indepen- 


dence and claim jurisdiction, and he applied to the University for 
an opinion to support his claims, but the Faculty of Theology re- 
plied, March 25, 1308, as it could not help doing : the Templars 
were religious and consequently exempt from secular jurisdiction ; 
the only cognizance which a secular court could have over heresy 
was at the request of the Church after it had abandoned the 
heretic; in case of necessity the secular power could arrest a 
heretic, but it could only be for the purpose of delivering him 
to the ecclesiastical court ; and finally the Templar property must 
be held for the purpose for which it was given to the Order.* 

Philippe, thus foiled, proceeded to bring a still stronger pressure 
to bear on Clement. He appealed to his subservient bishops and 
summoned a national assembly, to meet April 15 in Tours, to delib- 
erate with him on the subject of the Templars. Already, at the 
Assemblv of Paris in 1302, he had called in the Tiers-Etat and had 
learned to value its support in his quarrel with Boniface, and now 
he again brought in the communes, thus founding the institution 
of the States-General. After some delay the assembly met in 
May. In his summons Philippe had detailed the crimes of the 
Templars as admitted facts which ought to arouse for their pun- 
ishment not only arms and the laws, but brute cattle and the four 
elements. He desired his subjects to jmrticipate in the pious work, 
and therefore he ordered the towns to select each two deputies 
zealous for the faith. From a gathering collected under such im- 
pulsion it was not difficult, in spite of the secret leaning of the 
nobles to the proscribed Order, to procure a virtually unanimous 
expression of opinion that the Templars deserved death.f 

With the prestige of the nation at his back, Philippe went from 
Tours, at the end of May, to Clement at Poitiers, accompanied by 
a strong deputation, including his brothers, his sons, and his coun- 

* Du Puy, pp. 12-13, 84-5, 89, 109, 111-12, 134.— D'Achery Spicileg. II. 
199.— Raynouard, p. 238, 306. 

Jean de S. Victor gives the date of the declaration of the University as the 
Saturday after Ascension (May 25, ap. Bouquet, XXI. 651), but Du Puy de- 
scribes the document as sealed with fourteen seals, and dated on Lady Day 
(March 25). 

t Archives Administrates de Reims, T. II. pp. 65, 66. — Chassaing Spicile- 
gium Brivatense, pp. 274-5. — Du Puy, pp. 38-9, 85, 113, 116. — Contin. Naugiac. 
ann. 1308. — Joann. de S. Victor. (Bouquet, XXI. 650). — Raynouard, p. 42. 



cillors. Long and earnest were the disputations over the affair, 
Philippe urging, through his spokesman, Guillaume de Plaisian, that 
the Templars had been found guilty and that immediate punish- 
ment should follow; Clement reiterating his grievance that an 
affair of such magnitude, exclusively appertaining to the Holy 
See, should be carried on without his initiative. A body like the 
Order of the Temple had powerful friends all over Europe whose 
influence with the curia was great, and the papal perplexities were 
manifold as one side or the other preponderated ; but Clement 
had irrevocably committed himself in the face of all Europe by 
his bull of November 22, and it was in reality but a question of 
the terms on which he would allow the affair to go on in France 
by removing the suspension of the powers of the Inquisition. The 
bargaining was sharp, but an agreement was reached. As Clement 
had reserved the matter for papal judgment, it was necessary that 
some show of investigation should be had. Seventy-two Templars 
were drawn from the prisons of Paris to be examined by the pope 
and sacred college, that they might be able to assert personal 
knowledge of their guilt. Clement might well shrink from con- 
fronting de Molay and the chiefs of the Order whom he was be- 
traying, while at the same time they could not be arbitrarily omit- 
ted. They were therefore stopped at Chinon near Tours, under 
pretext of sickness, while the others were sent forward to Poitiers. 
From the 28th of June to July 1 they were solemnly examined by 
five cardinals friendly to Philippe deputed for the purpose. The 
official report of the examinations shows the care which had been 
exercised in the selection of those who were to perform this scene 
in the drama. A portion of them were spontaneous witnesses 
who had left, or had tried to leave, the Order. The rest, with the 
terrible penalty for retraction impending over them, confirmed the 
confessions made before the Inquisition, which in many cases had 
been extracted by torture. Then, July 2, they were brought before 
the pope in full consistory and the same scene was enacted. Thus 
the papal jurisdiction was recognized ; Clement in his subsequent 
bulls could speak of his own knowledge, and could declare that the 
accused had confessed their errors spontaneously and without coer- 
cion, and had humbly begged for absolution and reconciliation.* 

Ptol. Lucens. Hist. Eccles. Lib. xxiv. (Muratori S. R. I. XI. 1229-30).— 


The agreement duly executed between Clement and Philippe 
bore that the Templars should be delivered to the pope, but be 
guarded in his name by the king ; that their trials should be pro- 
ceeded with by the bishops in their several dioceses, to whom, at 
the special and earnest request of the king, the inquisitors were 
adjoined — but de Molay and the Preceptors of the East, of Xor- 
mandy, Poitou, and Provence, were reserved for the papal judg- 
ment ; the property was to be placed in the hands of commission- 
ers named by the pope and bishops, to whom the king was secretly 
to add appointees of his own, but he was to pledge himself in writ- 
ing that it should be employed solely for the Holy Land. Clement 
assumed that the fate of the Order, as an institution, was too 
weighty a question to be decided without the intervention of a 
general council, and it was decided to call one in October, 1310. 
The Cardinal of Palestrina was named as the papal representative 
in charge of the persons of the Templars — a duty which he speed- 
ily fulfilled by transferring them to the king under condition that 
they should be held at the disposition of the Church. Clement 
performed his part of the bargain by removing, July 5, the sus- 
pension of the inquisitors and bishops, and restoring their jurisdic- 
tion in the matter. Directions were sent at the same time to each 
of the bishops in France to associate with himself two cathedral 
canons, two Dominicans, and two Franciscans, and proceed with 
the trials of the individual Templars within his diocese, admitting 
inquisitors to participate at will, but taking no action against the 
Order as a whole ; all persons were ordered, under pain of excom- 
munication, to arrest Templars and deliver them to the inquisitors 
or episcopal officials, and Philippe furnished twenty copies of royal 
letters commanding his subjects to restore to the papal deputies 
all property, real and personal, of the Order.* 

Joann. de S.Victor (Bouquet, XXL 650). — Raynouard, pp. 44-5, 245-52.— Du Puy, 
pp. 13-14. — Schottmuller, op. cit. II. 13 sqq. — Bull. Faciem misericordiam, 12 
Aug. 1808 (Rymer, II. 101.— Mag. Bull. Rom. IX. 136). 

* Du Puy, pp. 15-17, 20, 39, 86, 107-8, 118-19, 121-22, 125.— Contin. Nangiac. 
ann. 1308.— Raynouard, pp. 46, 49. — Joann. de S. Victor (Bouquet, XXI. 651).— 
D'Achery Spicileg. II. 200. 

Guillaume de Plaisian, who had been Philippe's chief instrument in these 
transactions, received special marks of Clement's favor by briefs dated August 
5 (Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. III. pp. 216, 227). 


Although Clement declared in his bulls to Europe that Philippe 
had manifested his disinterestedness by surrendering all the Tem- 
plar property, the question was one which gave rise to a good deal 
of skilful fencing on both sides. It is not worth while to pursue 
the affair in its details, but we shall see how in the end Philippe 
successfully cheated his partner in the game and retained the con- 
trol which he apparently gave up.* 

The rival powers having thus come to an understanding about 
their victims, proceedings were resumed with fresh energy. Clem- 
ent made up for his previous hesitation with ample show of zeal. 
De Molay and the chief officials with him were detained at Chinon 
until the middle of August, when the Cardinals of SS. Nereo and 
Achille, of S. Ciriaco and of S. Angelo, were sent thither to ex- 
amine them. These reported, August 20, to Philippe, that on the 
17th and following days they had interrogated the Grand Master, 
the Master of Cyprus, the Visitor of France, and the Preceptors of 
Normandy and Poitou, who had confirmed their previous confes- 
sions and had humbly asked for absolution and reconciliation, 
which had been duly given them, and the king is asked to pardon 
them. There are two things noteworthy in this which illustrate 
the duplicity pervading the whole affair. In the papal bulls of 
August 12, five davs before this examination was commenced, its 
results are fully set forth, with the assertion that the confessions 
were free and spontaneous. Moreover, when, in November, 1309, 
this bull was read over by the papal commission to de Molay, on 
hearing: its recital of Avhat he was said to have confessed he was 
stupefied, and, crossing himself twice, said he wished to God the 

* Bull. Faciensmisericordiam.—RsLynaAd. aim. 1309, No. 3.— Du Puy, pp. 64-5, 
86-88, 127, 207-9.— Proces des Templiers I. 50-2.— Raynouard, p. 47.— Regest. 
Clement. PP. V. T. IV. pp. 433-4. 

Clement appointed six curators in France to look after the property for the 
Holy See. By letters of January 5, 1309, he gave them an allowance from the 
Templai property of forty sous parisis of good money each for every night which 
they might have to spend away from home, at the same time cautioning them 
that they must not fraudulently leave their houses without necessity (Regest. 
T. IV. p. 439). A brief of January 28, 1310, transferring from the Bishop of 
Vaison to the canon, Gerard de Bussy, the custody of certain Templar houses, 
shows that Clement succeeded in obtaining possession of a portion (lb. T. V. 
p. 56). 


custom of the Saracens and Tartars were observed towards persons 
so perverse, for they beheaded or cut in two those who thus per- 
verted the truth. He might have said more had not Guillaume de 
Plaisian, the royal agent, who pretended to be his friend, cautioned 
him as to the risk which he ran in thus constructivelv retracting 
his confession, and he contented himself with asking for time for 

On August 12 Clement issued a series of bulls which res:u- 
lated the methods of procedure in the case, and showed that he was 
prepared fully to perform his part of the agreement with Philippe. 
The bull Faciens raise ricordiam, addressed to the prelates of Chris- 
tendom, recited at great length the proceedings thus far taken 
against the accused, and the guilt which they had spontaneously 
acknowledged ; it directed the bishops, in conjunction with inquisi- 
torial commissioners appointed by the pope, to summon all Tem- 
plars before them and make inquisition concerning them. After 
this provincial councils were to be summoned, where the guilt or 
innocence of the individuals was to be determined, and in all the 
proceedings the local inquisitors had a right to take part. The 
results of the inquisitions, moreover, were to be promptly trans- 
mitted to the pope. With this was enclosed a long and elaborate 
series of articles on which the accused were to be examined — arti- 
cles drawn up in Paris by the royal officials — and the whole was 
ordered to be published in the vernacular in all parish churches. 
The bull Regnans m caelis, addressed to all princes and prelates, 
repeated the narrative part of the other, and ended by convoking, 
for October 1, 1310, a general council at Tienne. to decide as to 
the fate of the Order, to consult as to the recovery of the Holy 
Land, and to take such action as might be required for the refor- 
mation of the Church. By another bull, Faciens miser icordiam, 
dated August 8, a formal summons was issued to all and singular 
of the Templars to appear before the council, personally or by pro- 
curators, on a certain day, to answer to the charges against the 
Order, and the Cardinal of Palestrina, who was in charge of them, 
was ordered to produce de Molay and the Preceptors of France, 
Normandy, Poitou, Aquitaine, and Provence to receive sentence. 
This was the simplest requirement of judicial procedure, and the 

* Du Puy pp. 33-4, 133. — Bull. Facicm miser icordiam. — Procfes, I. 34-5. 


manner in which it was subsequently eluded forms one of the dark- 
est features in the whole transaction. Finally there were other 
bulls elaborately providing for the payment of the papal commis- 
sioners and inquisitors, and ordering the Templar possessions ev- 
ery „ r here to be sequestrated to await the result of the trial, and 
to be devoted to the Holy Land in case of condemnation. Much, it 
was stated, had already been wickedly seized and appropriated, and 
all persons were summoned to make restitution, under pain of ex- 
communication. All debtors to the Order were summoned to pay, 
and all persons cognizant of such debts or of stolen property were 
required to give information. The series of bulls was completed 
by one of December 30, to be read in all churches, declaring all 
Templars to be suspect of heresy, ordering their capture as such 
and delivery to the episcopal ordinaries, and forbidding all poten- 
tates and prelates from harboring them or showing them any aid 
or favor, under pain of excommunication and interdict. At the 
same time another bull was directed to all the princes of Christen- 
dom, commanding them to seize any Templars who might as yet 
not have been arrested.* 

The prosecution of the Templars throughout Europe was thus 
organized. Even such distant points as Achaia, Corsica, and Sar- 
dinia were not neglected. The large number of special inquisitors 
to be appointed was a work of time, and the correspondence be- 
tween Philippe and Clement on the subject shows that they vir- 
tually were selected by the king. In France the work of prose- 
cution was speedily set on foot, and, after a respite of some six 
months, the Templars found themselves transferred from the im- 
provised inquisitorial tribunals set on foot by Frere Guillaume to 
the episcopal courts as provided by Clement. In every diocese 

* Rymer,III. 101.— Mag. Bull. Rom. IX. 134, 136.— Harduin. VII. 1283, 1289, 
1321, 1353.— Schmidt, Pabstliche Urkunden und Regesten, Halle, 1886, pp. 
71-2.— Raynald. aim. 1308, No. 8.— Contin. Guill. Nangiac. ann. 1308.— Ray- 
nouard, p. 50.— Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. III. pp. 281 sqq., pp. 363 sqq., 386 
sqq.; T. IV. pp. 3, 276 sqq., 479-82. 

The Master of England and the Master of Germany were reserved for papal 
judgment. The bull Faciens misericordiam, addressed to Germany, contained no 
command to assemble provincial councils (Harduin. VII. 1353). 

In spite of all that had occurred, this bull seems to have taken the public by 
surprise outside of France. Walter of Hemingford calls it " uullam horribilem 
contra Templarios " (Chron. Ed. 1849, II. 279). 


the bishops were soon busily at work. Curiously enough, some of 
them doubted whether they could use torture, and applied for in- 
structions, to which Clement answered that they were to be gov- 
erned by the written law, which removed their misgivings. The 
papal instructions indicate that these proceedings only concerned 
those Templars who had not passed through the hands of Frere 
Guillaume and his commissioners, but there seems to have been 
little distinction observed as to this. Clement urged forward the 
proceedings with little regard to formality, and authorized the 
bishops to act outside of their respective dioceses, and without 
respect to the place of origin of the accused. The sole object 
evidently was to extract from them satisfactory confessions, as 
a preparation for the provincial councils which were to be sum- 
moned for their final judgment. Those who had already confessed 
were not likely to retract. Before the papal commission in 1310, 
Jean de Cochiac exhibited a letter from Philippe de Yohet and 
Jean de Jamville, the papal and royal custodians of the prisoners, 
to those confined at Sens at the time the Bishop of Orleans was 
sent there to examine them (the archbishopric of Sens was then 
vacant), warning them that those who revoked the confessions 
made before " los quizitor " would be burned as relapsed. Yohet, 
when summoned before the commission, admitted the seal to be 
his, but denied authorizing the letter, and the commission prudent- 
ly abstained from pushing the investigation further. The nervous 
anxiety manifested by most of those brought before the commis- 
sion that their statements should accord with what they had said 
before the bishops, shows that they recognized the danger which 
they incurred.* 

The treatment of those who refused to confess varied with 
the temper of the bishops and their adjuncts. The records of 
their tribunals have mostly disappeared, and we are virtually left 
to gather what we can from the utterances of a few witnesses 
who made to the commission chance allusions to their former ex- 
periences. Yet the proceedings before the Bishop of Clermont 
would show that they were not in all cases treated with undue 
harshness. He had sixty-nine Templars, of whom forty confessed, 

* Du Puy, pp. 110, 125.— Raynouard, p. 130.— Regest. Clement. PP. Y T. IV. 
pp. 453-55, 457-8.— Proces, I. 71-2, 128, 132, 135, 463, 511, 540, etc. 


and twenty-nine refused to admit any evil in the Order. Then he 
assembled them and divided them into the two groups. The re- 
cusants declared that they adhered to their assertion, and that if 
they should subsequently confess through fear of torture, prison, 
or other affliction, they protested that they should not be believed, 
and that it should not prejudice them, nor does it appear that any 
constraint was afterwards put upon them. The others were asked 
whether they had any defence to offer, or whether they were ready 
for definitive sentence, when they unanimously declared that they 
had nothing to offer nor wished to hear their sentence, but sub- 
mitted themselves to the mercy of the Church. What that mercy 
was we shall see hereafter. All bishops were not as mild as he 
of Clermont, but in the fragmentary recitals before the commis- 
sion it is not always easy to distinguish the action of the episco- 
pal tribunals from that of Frere Guillaume's inquisitors. A few 
instances will suffice to show how, between the two, testimony 
was obtained against the Order. Jean de Rompreye, a husband- 
man, declared that he knew nothing but good of the Order, al- 
though he had confessed otherwise before the Bishop of Orleans 
after being thrice tortured. Robert Yigier, a serving brother, like- 
wise denied the accusations, though he had confessed them before 
the Bishop of Nevers at Paris, on account of the fierceness of the 
torture, under which he understood that three of his comrades, 
Gautier, Henri, and Chanteloup, had died. Bernard de Yado, a 
priest, had been tortured by fire applied to the soles of the feet to 
such an extent that a few days afterwards the bones of his heels 
dropped out, in testimony of which he exhibited the bones. Nine- 
teen brethren from Perigord had confessed before the Bishop of 
Perigord through torture and starvation — one of them had been 
kept for six months on bread and water, without shoes or upper 
clothing. Guillaume d'Erre, when brought before the Bishop of 
Saintes, had denied all the charges, but after being put on bread 
and water and threatened with torture, had confessed to renounc- 
ing Christ and spitting at the cross — a confession which he now 
retracts. Thomas de Pamplona, under many tortures inflicted on 
him at St. Jean d'Angely, had confirmed the confession made by 
de Molay, and then, upon being put upon bread and water, had 
confessed before the Bishop of Saintes to spitting at the cross, all 
of which he now retracts. These instances might be multiplied 


out of the few who had the hardihood to incur the risk of martyr- 
dom attendant upon withdrawing their confessions. Indeed, in 
the universal terror impressed on the friendless and defenceless 
wretches, we cannot condemn those who yielded, and can only ad- 
mire the constancy of those who endured the torture and braved 
the stake in defence of the Order. What was the general feeling 
among them was voiced by Aymon de Barbara, who had thrice 
been tortured, and had for nine weeks been kept on bread and 
water. He pitifully said that he had suffered in body and soul, 
but as for retracting his confession, he would not do so as long as 
he was in prison. The mental struggles which the poor creatures 
endured are well illustrated by Jean de Cormele, Preceptor of 
Moissac, who when brought before the commission hesitated and 
would not describe the ceremonies at his own reception, though 
he declared that he had seen nothing wrong at the reception of 
others. The recollection of the tortures which he had endured in 
Paris, in which he had lost four teeth, completely unnerved him, 
and he begged to have time for consideration. He was given 
until the next day, and when he reappeared his resolution had 
broken down. He confessed the whole catalogue of villainies ; and 
when asked if he had consulted any one, denied it, but said that 
he had requested a priest to say for him a mass of the Holy Ghost 
that God might direct him what to do.* 

These instances will illustrate the nature of the work in which 
the whole episcopate of France was engaged during the remainder 
of the year 1308 and through 1309 and 1310. All this, however, 
concerned merely the members of the Order as individuals. The 
fate of the Templar possessions depended upon the judgment to 
be rendered on the Order as a body corporate, and for this pur- 
pose Clement had assigned for it a day on which it was to appear 
by its syndics and procurators before the Council of Yienne, to 
put in its defence and show cause why it should not be abolished. 
Seeing that the officers and members were scattered in prison 
throughout Europe, this was a manifest impossibility, and some 
method was imperatively required by which they could, at least 
constructively, be represented, if only to hear their sentence. 

* Raynouard, pp. 52-3. — Procfcs, I. 40, 75, 230, 506-9, 511-14, 520-1, 527-8; 
II. 13, 18. 


Among the bulls of August 12, 1308, therefore, there was one 
creating a commission, with the Archbishop of Narbonne at its 
head, authorized to summon before it all the Templars of France, 
to examine them, and to report the result. Subsequent bulls of 
May, 1309, directed the commission to set to work, and notified 
Philippe concerning it. August 8, 1309, the commission assem- 
bled in the abbey of Sainte-Genevieve, and by letters addressed 
to all the archbishops of the kingdom cited all Templars to ap- 
pear before them on the first working-day after Martinmas, and 
the Order itself to appear by its syndics and procurators at the 
Council of Yienne, to receive such sentence as God should decree. 
On the appointed day, November 12, the commissioners reassem- 
bled, but no Templars appeared. For a week they met daily, and 
daily the form was gone through of a proclamation by the ap- 
paritor that if any one wished to appear for the Order or its mem- 
bers the commission was ready to listen to him kindly, but with- 
out result. On examining the replies of the prelates they were 
found to have imperfectly fulfilled their duty. Philippe evident- 
ly regarded the whole proceeding with distrust, and was not in- 
clined to aid it. A somewhat peremptory communication on No- 
vember 18 was addressed to the Bishop of Paris, explaining that 
their proceedings were not against individuals, but against the 
wmole Order ; that no one was to be forced to appear, but that all 
who so chose must be allowed to come. This brought the bishop 
before them on November 22, w T ith explanations and apologies ; 
and a summons to Philippe de Vohet and Jean de Jamville, the 
papal and royal custodians of the Templars, brought those officials 
to promise obedience. Yet the obstacles to the performance of 
their task did not disappear. On the 22d they were secretly in- 
formed that some persons had come to Paris in lay garments to 
defend the Order, and had been thrown in prison. Thereupon 
they sent for Jean de Plublaveh, prevot of the Chatelet, who said 
that by royal order he had arrested seven men said to be Tem- 
plars in disguise, w T ho had come with money to engage advocates 
in defence of the Order, but on torturing two of them he had 
found this not to be the case. The matter proved to be of little 
significance except as manifesting the purpose of the king to con- 
trol the action of the commission.* 

* Joann. de S. Victor (Bouquet, XXI. 654).— Proces, 1. 1-31. 
III.— 19 


At length the commission succeeded in securing the presence 
of de Molay, of Hngues de Peraud, and of some of the brethren 
confined in Paris. De Molay said he was not wise and learned 
enough to defend the Order, but he would hold himself vile and 
miserable if he did not attempt it. Yet he was a prisoner and 
penniless ; he had not four deniers to spend, and only a poor serv- 
ing brother with whom to advise ; he prayed to have aid and coun- 
sel, and he would do his best. The commissioners reminded him 
that trials for heresy were not conducted according to legal forms, 
that advocates were not admitted, and thev cautioned him as to 
the risk he incurred in defending the Order after the confession 
which he had made. Kindly they read over to him the report of 
the cardinals as to his confession at Chinon ; and on his manifest- 
ing indignation and astonishment, Guillaume de Plaisian, who 
seems to have been watching the proceedings on the part of the 
king, gave him, as we have already seen, another friendly caution 
which closed his lips. He asked for delay, and when he reap- 
peared Guillaume de Xogaret was there to take advantage of any 
imprudence. From the papal letters which had been read to him 
he learned that the pope had reserved him and the other chiefs of 
the Order for special judgment, and he therefore asked to have 
the opportunity of appearing before the papal tribunal without 
delay. The shrewdness of this device thus made itself apparent. 
It separated the leaders from the rest ; de Molay, Hugues de Pe- 
raud, and Geoffroi de Gonneville were led to hope for special con- 
sideration, and selfishly abandoned their followers. As for the 
brethren, their answers to the commission were substantiallv that 
of Geraud de Caux — he was a simple knight, without horse, arms, 
or land ; he knew not how, and could not defend the Order.* 

By this time Philippe seems to have been satisfied that no 
harm could come from the operations of the commission. His op- 
position disappeared, and he graciously lent them his assistance. 
November 28, a second summons was sent to the bishops threaten- 
ing them with papal indignation for a continuance of their neglect, 
and, what was far more efficacious, it was accompanied with orders 
from Philippe directing his jailers to afford to the episcopal offi- 
cials access to the imprisoned Templars, while the baillis were 

* Procfcs, I. 28, 29, 41-5, 88. 


instructed to send to Paris, under sure guard, all Templars desir- 
ing to defend their Order.* 

February 3, 1310, was the day named in this new citation. By 
the 5th Templars began to pour in, nearly all eager to defend 
their Order. They accumulated until the commission was embar- 
rassed how to deal with them, and finally, on March 28, five hun- 
dred and forty-six who had offered to defend were assembled in 
the garden of the episcopal palace, where the commissioners ex- 
plained to them what was proposed, and suggested that they 
should nominate six or eight or ten of their number to act as pro- 
curators ; they would not again have an opportunity of meeting, 
and the commission would proceed on the 31st, but the procura- 
tors should have access to them in their several prisons, and should 
agree with them as to what defence should be offered. A pro- 
miscuous crowd, whose differences of dialect rendered intercom- 
munication impossible, abandoned by their natural leaders and 
thus suddenly brought together, was not fitted for deliberation 
on so delicate an emergency. Many hesitated about acting with- 
out orders from the Master, for all initiative on the part of sub- 
ordinates was strictly forbidden by the Rule. The commissioners 
seem to have been sincerely desirous of getting the matter into 
some sort of shape, and finally, on the 31st, they ordered their 
notaries to visit the houses in which the Templars were confined 
and report their wishes and conclusions. This was a process 
requiring time, and the reports of the notaries after making 
their daily rounds are pitiful enough. The wretched prisoners 
floundered helplessly when called upon to resolve as to their 
action. Most of them declared the Order to be pure and holy, 
but knew not what to do in the absence of their superiors. 
There was a general clamor, often on bended knees, for readmis- 
sion to the sacraments. Many begged to be assured that when 
they died they should be buried in consecrated ground ; others 
offered to pay for a chaplain out of the miserable allowance doled 
to them ; some asked that the allowance be increased, others that 
they should have clothes to cover their nakedness. They were 
urgent in the impossible request that they should have experts 
and learned men to advise with and appear for them, for they 

* Procfcs, I. 47-53. 


were simple and illiterate, chained in prison and unable to act ; and 
they further begged that security should be given to witnesses, as 
all who had confessed were threatened with burning if they should 
retract. A. paper presented April 4 by those confined in the house 
of the Abbot of Tiron is eloquent in its suggestiveness as to their 
treatment, for the houses in which they were quartered had appar- 
ently taken them on speculation. They assert the purity of the 
Order and their readiness to defend it as well as men can who are 
fettered in prison and pass the night in dark fosses. They further 
complain of the insufficiency of their allowance of twelve deniers 
a day, for they pay three deniers each per day for their beds ; for 
hire of kitchen, napery, and cloths, two sols six deniers per week ; 
two sols for taking off and replacing their fetters when they 
appear before the commission ; for washing, eighteen deniers a 
fortnight ; wood and candles, four deniers a day, and ferriage across 
from iSotre Dame, sixteen deniers. It is evident that the poor 
creatures were exploited relentlessly." 

The outcome of the matter was that on April 7 nine repre- 
sentatives presented a paper in the name of all, declaring that 
without authority from the Master and Convent they could not 
appoint procurators, but they offer themselves one and all in 
defence of the Order, and ask to be present at the council or wher- 
ever it is on trial. They declare the charges to be horrible and 
impossible lies fabricated by apostates and fugitives expelled for 
crime from the Order, confirmed by torturing those who uphold 
the truth, and encouraging liars with recompenses and great prom- 
ises. It is wonderful, they say, to see greater faith reposed in 
those corrupted thus by worldly advantage than in those who, 
like the martyrs of Christ, have died in torture with the palm of 
martyrdom, and in the living who, for conscience' sake, have suf- 
fered and daily suffer in their dungeons so many torments, tribula- 
tions, and miseries. In the universal terror prevailing they pray 
that when the brethren are examined there may be present no 
laymen or others whom they may fear, and that security may be 

* Proces, I. 103-51. — It must be borne in mind that the allowance was in the 
fearfully debased currency of Philippe le Bel. According to a document of 1318 
the livre Tournois still was to the sterling pound as 1 to 4-J- (Olim, III. 1279). 

Other Templars subsequently offered to defend the Order, making five hun- 
dred and seventy-three up to May 2. 


assured them, for all who have confessed are daily threatened with 
burning if they retract. In reply the commissioners disavowed 
responsibility for their ill-usage, and promised to ask that they be 
humanely treated in accordance with the orders of the Cardinal 
of Palestrina, to whom they had been committed by the pope. 
The Grand Master, they added, had been urged to defend the 
Order, but had declined, and claimed that he was reserved for the 

Having thus given the Templars a nominal opportunity for 
defence, the commissioners proceeded to take testimony, appoint- 
ing four of the representatives, Renaud de Provins, Preceptor of 
Orleans, Pierre de Boulogne, procurator of the Order in the papal 
court, and Geoffroi de Chambonnet and Bertrand de Sartiges, 
knights, to be present at the swearing of the witnesses, and to do 
what might be requisite without constituting them formal defend- 
ers of the Order. These four on April 13 presented another paper 
in which, after alluding to the tortures employed to extort confes- 
sions, they stated it to be a notorious fact that to obtain testimony 
from Templars sealed royal letters had been given them promising 
them liberty and large pensions for life, and telling them that the 
Order was permanently abolished. This was evidently intended 
as a protest to pave the way for disabling the adverse witnesses, 
which, as we have seen, was the only defence in the inquisitorial 
process, and with the same object they also asked for the names of 
all witnesses. They did not venture to ask for a copy of the evi- 
dence, but they earnestly requested that it should be kept secret, 
to avert the danger that might otherwise threaten the witnesses. 
Subject to the interruption of the Easter solemnities, testimony, 
mostly adverse to the Order, continued to be taken up to May 9, 
from witnesses apparently carefully selected for the purpose. On 
Sunday, May 10, the commissioners were suddenly called together, 
at the request of Renaud de Provins and his colleagues, to receive 
the startling announcement that the provincial Council of Sens, 
which had been hastily assembled at Paris, proposed to prosecute 
all the Templars who had offered to defend the Order. Most of 
these had previously confessed; they had heroically taken their 
lives in their hands when, by asserting the purity of the Order, 

* Procfes, I. 165-72. 


they had constructively revoked their confessions. The four 
Templars therefore appealed to the commissioners for protection, 
as the action of the council would fatally interfere with the work 
in hand; they demanded apostoli, and that their persons and 
rights and the whole Order should be placed under the guardian- 
ship of the Holy See, and time and money be allowed to prosecute 
the appeal. They further asked the commissioners to notify the 
Archbishop of Sens to take no action while the present examina- 
tion was in progress, and that they be sent before him with one or 
two notaries to make a protest, as they can find no one who dares 
to draw up such an instrument for them. The commissioners 
were sorely perplexed and debated the matter until evening, when 
they recalled the Templars to say that while they heartily com- 
passionated them they could do nothing, for the Archbishop of 
Sens and the council were acting under powers delegated by the 

It was no part of Philippe's policy to allow the Order any 
opportunity to be heard. The sudden rally of nearly six hundred 
members, after their chiefs had been skilfully detached from 
them, and their preparations for defence at the approaching coun- 
cil promised a struggle which he proceeded to crush at the outset 
with his customary unscrupulous energy. The opportunity was 
favorable, for after long effort he had just obtained from Clement 
the archbishopric of Sens (of which Paris was a suffragan see) 
for a youthful creature of his own, Philippe de Marigny, brother 
of his minister Enguerrand, who took possession of the dignity 
only on April 5. The bull Faciens misericordiam had prescribed 
that, after the bishops had completed their inquests, provincial 
councils were to be called to sit in judgment on the individual 
brethren. In pursuance of this, the king through his archbishops 
was master of the situation. Provincial councils were suddenly 
called, that for Sens to meet at Paris, for Reims at Senlis, for 
Xormandy at Pont de l'Arche, and for Xarbonne at Carcassonne, 
and a demonstration was organized which should paralyze at once 
and forever all thought of further opposition to his will. No time 
was wasted in any pretence of judicial proceedings, for the canon 
law provided that relapsed heretics were to be condemned with- 

* Procfcs, I. 173, 201-4, 259-64. 



out a hearing. On the 11th the Council of Sens was opened at 
Paris. On the 12th, while the commissioners were engaged in 
taking testimony, word was brought them that fifty-four of those 
who had offered to defend the Order had been condemned as re- 
lapsed heretics for retracting their confessions, and were to be 
burned that day. Hastily they sent to the council Philippe de 
Yohet, the papal custodian of the Templars, and Amis, Archdeacon 
of Orleans, to ask for delay. Yohet, they said, and many others 
asserted that the Templars who died in prison declared on peril 
of their souls that the crimes alleged were false; Eenaud de 
Provins and his colleagues had appealed before them from the 
council ; if the proposed executions took place the functions of the 
commission would be impeded, for the witnesses that day and the 
day before were crazed with terror and wholly unfit to give evi- 
dence. The envoys hurried to the council-hall, where they were 
treated with contempt and told that it was impossible that the 
commission could have sent such a message. The fifty-four 
martyrs were piled in wagons and carried to the fields near the 
convent of S. Antoine, where they were slowly tortured to death 
with fire, refusing all offers of pardon for confession, and manifest- 
ing a constancy which, as a contemporary tells us, placed their 
souls in great peril of damnation, for it led the people into the 
error of believing them innocent. The council continued its Avork, 
and a few days later burned four more Templars, so that if there 
were any who still proposed to defend the Order they might 
recognize what would be their fate. It ordered the bones of Jean 
de Tourne, former treasurer of the Temple, to be exhumed and 
burned; those who confessed and adhered to their confessions 
were reconciled to the Church and liberated ; those who persisted 
in refusing to confess were condemned to perpetual prison. This 
was rather more humane than the regular inquisitorial practice, 
but it suited the royal policy of the moment. A few weeks later, 
at Senlis, the Council of Reims burned nine more ; at Pont de 
l'Arche three were burned, and a number at Carcassonne.* 

* Fisquet, La France Pontificate, Sens, p. 68. — Proces, I. 274-5, 281, — Contin. 
Chron.G. de Fracheto (Bouquet, XXI. 33).— Chron. Anon. (Bouquet, XXI. 140).— 
Amalr. Auger. Hist. Pontif. (Eccard II. 1810). — Trithem. Chron. Hirsaug. ann. 
1307.— Bern. Guidon. Flor. Chron. (Bouquet, XXI. 719).— Joann. de S. Victor 


This ferocious expedient accomplished its purpose. When, on 
the day after the executions at Paris, May 13, the commission 
opened its session, the first witness, Aimery de Villiers, threw 
himself on his knees, pale and desperately frightened ; beating his 
breast and stretching forth his hands to the altar, he invoked sud- 
den death and perdition to body and soul if he lied. He declared 
that all the crimes imputed to the Order were false, although he 
had, under torture, confessed to some of them. When he had yes- 
terday seen his fifty -four brethren carried in wagons to be burned, 
and heard that they had been burned, he felt that he could not 
endure it and would confess to the commissioners or to any one 
else whatever might be required of him, even that he had slain the 
Lord. In conclusion he adjured the commissioners and the nota- 
ries not to reveal what he had said to his jailers, or to the royal 
officials, for he would be burned like the fifty-four. Then a pre- 
vious witness, Jean Bert-rand, came before the commission to sup- 
plicate that his deposition be kept secret on account of the danger 
impending over him. Seeing all this, the commission felt that 
during this general terror it would be wise to suspend its sittings, 
and it did so. It met again on the 18th to reclaim fruitlessly from 
the Archbishop of Sens, Penaud de Provins, who had been put on 
trial before the council. Pierre de Boulogne was likewise snatched 
away and could not be obtained again. Many of the Templars 
who had offered to defend the Order made haste to withdraw, and 
all effort to provide for it an organized hearing before the Council 
of Yienne was perforce abandoned. Whether Clement was privy 
to this high-handed interruption of the functions of his commission 
is perhaps doubtful, but he did nothing to rehabilitate it, and his 
quiescence rendered him an accomplice. He had only succeeded 

(Bouquet, XXL 654-55). — Contin. Guill. Nangiac. ann. 1310. — Grandes Chro- 
niques,V. 187.— Chron. Cornel. Zantfliet ann. 1310 (Martene Ampl. Coll. V. 158).— 
Bessin, Concil. Rotomagens. p. iii. — Raynouard, pp. 118-20. 

It was not all bishops who were ready to accept the inquisitorial doctrine 
that revocation of confession was equivalent to relapse. The question was dis- 
cussed in the Council of Narbonne and decided in the negative. — Raynouard, p. 

The number of those who refused to confess was not insignificant. Some 
papers respecting the expenses of detention of Templars at Senlis describe sixty- 
five as not reconciled, who therefore cannot have confessed. — lb. p. 107. 


in betraying to a fiery death the luckless wretches whom he had 
tempted to come forward.* 

On April 4, by the bull Alma Mater, Clement had postponed 
the Council of Yienne from October, 1310, until October, 1311, in 
consequence of the inquisition against the Templars requiring more 
time than had been expected. There was, therefore, no necessity 
for haste on the part of the commission, and it adjourned until 
November 3. Its members were long in getting together, and it 
did not resume its sessions until December 17. Then Guillaume 
de Chambonnet and Bertrand de Sartiges were brought before it, 
when they protested that they could not act for the Order without 
the aid of Renaud de Provins and Pierre de Boulogne. These, the 
commission informed them, had solemnly renounced the defence 
of the Order, had returned to their first confessions, and had been 
condemned to perpetual imprisonment by the Council of Sens, 
after which Pierre had broken jail and fled. The two knights 
were offered permission to be present at the swearing of the wit- 
nesses, with opportunity to file exceptions, but they declared them- 
selves unfitted for the task and retired. Thus all pretence of 
affording the Order a chance to be heard was abandoned, and the 
subsequent proceedings of the commission became merely an ex 
parte accumulation of adverse testimony. It sat until June, in- 
dustriously hearing the witnesses brought before it ; but as those 
were selected by Philippe de Yohet and Jean de Jamville, care 
was evidently taken as to the character of the evidence that should 
reach it. Most of the witnesses, in fact, had been reconciled to 
the Church through confession, abjuration, and absolution, and no 
longer belonged to the Order which they had abandoned to its 
fate. Among the large number of Templars who had refused to 
confess, only a few, and these apparently by accident, were allowed 
to appear before it. There were also a few who dared to retract 
what they had stated before the bishops, but with these slender ex- 
ceptions all the evidence was adverse to the Order. In fact, it 
frequently happened that witnesses were sworn who never reap- 
peared to give their testimony, and that this was not accidental is 
rendered probable by the fact that Renaud de Provins was one of 
these. Finally, on June 5, the commission closed its labors and 

* Procfes, I. 275-83. 


transmitted without comment to Clement its records as part of 
the material to guide the judgment of the assembled Church at 
the Council of Yienne.* 

Before proceeding to the last scene of the drama at Yienne, it 
is necessary to consider briefly the action taken with the Templars 
outside of France. In England, Edward II., on October 30, 1307, 
replied to Philippe's announcement of October 16, to the effect 
that he and his council have given the most earnest attention to 
the matter ; it has caused the greatest astonishment, and is sc 
abominable as to be well-nigh incredible, and, to obtain further in- 
formation, he had sent for his Seneschal of Agen. So strong were 
his convictions and so earnest his desire to protect the threatened 
Order that on December 4 he wrote to the Kings of Portugal, Cas- 
tile, Aragon, and Xaples that the accusations must proceed from 
cupidity and envy, and begging them to shut their ears to detrac- 
tion and do nothing without deliberation, so that an Order so dis- 
tinguished for purity and honor should not be molested until 
legitimately convicted. Xot content with this, on the 10th he re- 
plied to Clement that the reputation of the Templars in England 
for purity and faith is such that he cannot, without further proof, 
believe the terrible rumors about them, and he begs the pope to 
resist the calumnies of envious and wicked men. In a few days, 
however, he received Clement's bull of ^November 22, and could 
no longer doubt the facts asserted by the head of Christendom. 
He hastened to obey its commands, and on the 15th elaborate 
orders were already prepared and sent out to all the sheriffs in 
England, with minute instructions to capture all the Templars on 
January 10, 1308, including directions as to the sequestration and 
disposition of their property, and this was followed on the 20th by 

* Harduin. VII. 1334.— Proces, I. 286-7 : II. 3-4, 269-73.— Raynouard, pp. 
254-6. — A notarial attestation describes the voluminous record as consisting of 
219 folios with forty lines to the page, equivalent to 17,520 lines. 

How close a watch was kept on the witnesses is seen in the case of three, 
Martin de Mont Richard, Jean Durand, and Jean de Ruaus, who, on March 22, 
asserted that they knew of no evil in the Order. Two days later they are 
brought back to say that they had lied through folly. When before their 
bishops they had confessed to renouncing and spitting, and it was true. What 
persuasions were applied to them during the interval no one can tell. — Proces, 
II. 88-96, 107-9. 


similar commands to the English authorities in Ireland, Scotland, 
and Wales. Possibly Edward's impending voyage to Boulogne to 
marry Isabella, the daughter of Philippe le Bel, may have had 
something to do with his sudden change of purpose.* 

The seizure was made accordingly, and the Templars were kept 
in honorable durance, not in prison, awaiting papal action ; for 
there seems to have been no disposition on the part either of Church 
or State to take the initiative. The delay was long, for though 
commissions were issued August 12, 1308, to the papal inquisitors, 
Sicard de Lavaur and the Abbot of Lagny, they did not start until 
September, 1309, and on the 13th of that month the royal safe- 
conducts issued for them show their arrival in England. Then in- 
structions were sent out to arrest all Templars not yet seized and 
gather them together in London, Lincoln, and York, for the ex- 
aminations to be held, and the bishops of those sees were strictly 
charged to be present throughout. Similar orders were sent to 
Ireland and Scotland, where the inquisitors appointed delegates to 
attend to the matter. It apparently was not easy to get the offi- 
cials to do their duty, for December 14 instructions were required 
to all the sheriffs to seize the Templars who were wandering in 
secular habits throughout the land, and in the following March 
and again in January, 1311, the Sheriff of York was scolded for al- 
lowing those in his custody to wander abroad. Popular sympathy 
evidently was with the inculpated brethren.f 

At length, on October 20, 1309, the papal inquisitors and the 
Bishop of London sat in the episcopal palace to examine the Tem- 
plars collected in London. Interrogated singly on all the numer- 
ous articles of accusation, they all asserted the innocence of the 
Order. Outside witnesses were called in who mostly declared 
their belief to the same effect, though some gave expression to 
the vague popular rumors and scandalous stories suggested by the 
secrecy of proceedings within the Order. The inquisitors were 
nonplussed. They had come to a country whose laws did not rec- 
ognize the use of torture, and without it they were powerless to 

* Rymer, Foedera, III. 18, 34-7,43-6. 

t Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. III. pp. 316, 477.— Rymer, Feed. III. 168-9, 173, 
179-80, 182, 195, 203-4, 244. 

The pay assigned to the inquisitors was three florins each per diem, to be 
assessed on the Templar property (Regest. ubi sup.). 


accomplish the work for which they had been sent. In their dis- 
gust they finally applied to the king, and on December 15 they 
obtained from him an order to the custodians of the prisoners 
to permit the inquisitors and episcopal ordinaries to do with the 
bodies of the Templars what they pleased, " in accordance with 
ecclesiastical law" — ecclesiastical law, by the hideous perversion of 
the times, having come to mean the worst of abuses, from which 
secular law still shrank. Either the jailers or the episcopal offi- 
cials interposed difficulties, for the mandate was repeated March 
1, 1310, and again March 8, with instructions to report the cause 
if the previous one had not been obeyed. Still no evidence worth 
the trouble was gained, though the examinations were prolonged 
through the winter and spring until May 24, when three captured 
fugitives were induced by means easily guessed to confess what was 
wanted, of which use was made to the utmost. At length Clement 
grew impatient under this lack of result. On August 6 he wrote 
to Edward that it was reported that he had prohibited the use of 
torture as contrary to the laws of the kingdom, and that the in- 
quisitors were thus powerless to extract confessions. 2so law or 
usage, he said, could be permitted to override the canons provided 
for such cases, and Edward's counsellors and officials who were 
guilty of thus impeding the Inquisition were liable to the penal- 
ties provided for that serious offence, while the king himself was 
warned to consider whether his position comported with his honor 
and safetv, and was offered remission of his sins if he would with- 
draw from it — perhaps the most suggestive sale of an indulgence 
on record. Similar letters at the same time were sent to all the 
bishops of England, who were scolded for not having already re- 
moved the impediment, as they were in duty bound to do. Under 
this impulsion Edward. August 20, again ordered that the bishops 
and inquisitors should be allowed to employ ecclesiastical law, and 
this was repeated October 6 and 23, Xovember 22, and April 28, 
1311 — in the last instances the word torture being used, and in all 
of them the king being careful to explain that what he does is 
through reverence for the Holy See. August 18, 1311, similar in- 
structions were sent to the Sheriff of York.* 

* Wilkins. Coucil. Mag. Brit. II. 329-92. — Rymer, III. 195, 202-3, 224-5, 
227-32, 2G0, 274.— Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. V. pp. 455-7. 


Thus for once the papal Inquisition founjd a foothold in Eng- 
land, but apparently its methods were too repugnant to the spirit of 
the nation to be rewarded with complete success. In spite of ex- 
aminations prolonged for more than eighteen months, the Tem- 
plars could not be convicted. The most that could be accomplished 
was, that in provincial councils held in London and York in the 
spring and summer of 1311, they were brought to admit that they 
were so defamed for heresy that they could not furnish the purga- 
tion required by law ; they therefore asked for mercy and prom- 
ised to perform what penance might be enjoined on them. Some 
of them, moreover, submitted to a form of abjuration. The coun- 
cils ordered them scattered among different monasteries to perform 
certain penance until the Holy See should decide as to the future 
of the Order. This was the final disposition of the Templars in 
England. A liberal provision of fourpence a day was made for 
their support, while two shillings was assigned to William de la 
More, the Master of England, and on his death it was continued to 
Humbert Blanc, the Preceptor of Auvergne, who, fortunately for 
himself, was in England at the time of arrest, and was caught 
there. This shows that they were not regarded as criminals, and 
the testimony of Walsingham is that in the monasteries to which 
they were assigned they comported themselves piously and right- 
eously in every respect. In Ireland and Scotland their examina- 
tions failed to procure any proof against the Order, save the vague 
conjectures and stories of outside witnesses industriously gathered 

In Lorraine, as soon as news came of the seizure in Erance, the 
Preceptor of Yillencourt ordered the brethren under him to shave 
and abandon their mantles, which was virtually releasing them 
from the Order. Duke Thiebault followed the exterminating pol- 

* Wilkins, II. 314, 373-83, 394-400.— Rymer, III. 295, 327, 334, 349, 472-3.— 
Proces des Templiers, II. 130.— D'Argentre" I. I. 280. 

That the allowance for the Templars was liberal is shown by that made for 
the Bishop of Glasgow when confined, in 1312, in the Castle of Porchester. His 
per diem was 6d., that for his valet 3d., for his chaplain five farthings, and the same 
for his servant (Rymer, III. 363). The wages of the janitor of the Temple in Lon- 
don was 2d., by a charter of Edward II. in 1314 (Wilcke, II. 498). 


icy of Philippe with complete success. A large number of the 
Templars were burned, and he managed to secure most of their 

In Germany our knowledge of what took place is somewhat 
fragmentary. The Teutonic Order afforded a career for the Ger- 
man chivalry, and the Templars were by no means so numerous 
as in France, their fate was not so dramatic, and it attracted com- 
paratively little attention from the chroniclers. One annalist in- 
forms us that they were destroyed with the assent of the Emperor 
Henry on account of their collusion with the Saracens in Pales- 
tine and Egypt, and their preparation for establishing a new em- 
pire for themselves among the Christians, which shows how little 
impression on the popular mind was made by the assertion of 
their heresies. For the most part, indeed, the action taken de- 
pended upon the personal views of the princely prelates who pre- 
sided over the great archbishoprics. Burchard III. of Magdeburg 
was the first to act. Obliged to visit the papal court in 1307 to 
obtain the pallium, he returned in May, 1308, with orders to seize 
all the Templars in his province; and as he was already hostile to 
them, he obeyed with alacrity. There were but four houses in his 
territories : on these and their occupants he laid his hands, leading 
to a long series of obscure quarrels, in which he incurred excom- 
munication from the Bishop of Halberstadt, which Clement hast- 
ened to remove ; by burning some of the more obstinate brethren, 
moreover, he involved himself in war with their kindred, in which 
he fared badly. As late as 1318 the Hospitallers are found com- 
plaining to John XXII. that Templars were still in possession of 
the greater portion of their property, f 

The bull Faciens misericordiam of August, 1308, sent to the 
German prelates, reserved, with Clement's usual policy, the Grand 
Preceptor of Germany for papal judgment. With the exception 
of Magdeburg, its instructions for active measures received slack 

* Proces, II. 267.— Calmet, Hist. Gen. de Lorraine, II. 436. 

t Gassari Armal. Augstburgens. arm. 1312 (Menken. Scnptt. T. 1473). — Tor- 
quati Series Pontif. Magdeburg, ann. 1307-8 (Menken. III. 390). — Raynald. ann. 
1310, No. 40.— Cbron. Episc. Merseburgens. c. xxvii. § 3 (Ludewig IV. 408). — 
Bothonis Chron. ann. 1311 (Leibnitz III. 374).— Wilcke. II. 242, 246, 324-5.— 
Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. V. p. 271.— Schmidt, Pabstliche Urkunden und Re- 
gesten, Halle, 1886, p. 77.— Havemann, p. 333. 


obedience. It was not to much purpose that, on December 30 of 
the same year, he wrote to the Duke of Austria to arrest all the 
Templars in his dominions, and commissioned the Ordinaries of 
Mainz, Treves, Cologne, Magdeburg, Strassburg, and Constance as 
special inquisitors within their several dioceses, while he sent the 
Abbot of Crudacio as inquisitor for the rest of Germany, ordering 
the prelates to pay him five gold florins a day. It was not until 
1310 that the great archbishops could be got to work, and then the 
results were disappointing. Treves and Cologne, in fact, made 
over to Burchard of Magdeburg, in 1310, their authority as com- 
missioners for the seizure of the Templar lands, and Clement con- 
firmed this with instructions to proceed with vigor. As regards 
the persons of the Templars, at Treves an inquest was held in 
which seventeen witnesses were heard, including three Templars, 
and resulting in their acquittal. At Mainz the Archbishop Peter, 
who had incurred Clement's displeasure by transferring to his suf- 
fragans his powers as commissioner over the Templar property, 
was at length forced to call a provincial council, May 11, 1310. 
Suddenly and unbidden there entered the Wild- and Eheingraf, 
Hugo of Salm, Commander of Grumbach, with twenty knights 
fully armed. There were fears of violence, but the archbishop 
asked Hugo what he had to say : the Templar asserted the inno- 
cence of the Order ; those who had been burned had steadfastly 
denied the charges, and their truth had been prcved by the crosses 
on their mantles remaining unburned — a miracle popularly believed, 
which had much influence on public opinion. He concluded by 
appealing to the future pope and the whole Church, and the arch- 
bishop, to escape a tumult, admitted the protest. Clement, on 
hearing of these proceedings, ordered the council to be reassembled 
and to do its work. He was obeved. The Wildoraf Frederic of 
Salm, brother of Hugo and Master of the Ehine-province, offered 
to undergo the red-hot iron ordeal, but it was unnecessary. Forty- 
nine witnesses, of whom thirty-seven were Templars, were exam- 
ined, and all swore to the innocence of the Order. The twelve 
non-Templars, who were personages of distinction, were emphatic 
in their declarations in its favor. Among others, the Archpriest 
John testified that in a time of scarcity, when the measure of corn 
rose from three sols to thirty-three, the commandery at Mostaire 
fed a thousand persons a day. The result was a verdict of acquit- 


tal, which was so displeasing to the pope that he ordered Burchard 
of Magdeburg to take the matter in hand and bring it to a more 
satisfactory conclusion. Burchard seems to have eagerly obeyed, 
but the results have not reached us. Archbishop Peter continued 
to hope for some adjustment, and when, after the Council of 
Vienne, he was forced to hand over the Templar property to the 
Hospitallers, he required the latter to execute an agreement to re- 
turn the manor of Topfstadt if the pope should restore the Order.* 

In Italy the Templars were not numerous, and the pope had 
better control over the machinery for their destruction. In Xa- 
ples the appeal of Edward II. was in vain. The Angevine dynasty 
was too closely allied to the papacy to hesitate, and when a copy 
of the bull Pastorali8 jprceeminentice, of November 21, 1307, was 
addressed to Kobert, Duke of Calabria, son of Charles II., there 
was no hesitation in obedience. Orders were speedily sent out to 
all the provinces under the Neapolitan crown to arrest the Tem- 
plars and sequestrate their property. Philip, Duke of Achaia and 
Romania, the voungest son of Charles, was forthwith commanded 
to carry out the papal instructions in all the possessions in the 
Levant. January 3, 1308, the officials in Provence and Forcal- 
quier were instructed to make the seizure January 23. The Order 
was numerous in those districts, but the members must have mostly 
fled, for only forty-eight were arrested, who are said to have been 
tried and executed, but a document of 1318 shows that Albert de 
Blacas, Preceptor of Aix and St. Maurice, who had been impris- 
oned in 1308, was then still enjoying the Commandery of St. 
Maurice, with consent of the Hospitallers. The Templar mova- 
bles were divided between the pope and king, and the landed pos- 
sessions were made over to the Hospital. In the kingdom of Na- 
ples itself, some fragmentary reports of the papal commission sent 

* Harduin. VII. 1353.— Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. IV. pp 3-4 ; T. V. p. 272. 
— Du Pay, pp. 62-3, 130-1.— Schmidt, Pabstliche Urkunden, p. 77.— Raynald. 
ann. 1310, No. 40. — Raynouard, pp. 127, 270.— Jo. Latomi Cat. Arcbiepp. Moguntt. 
(Menken. III. 526).— H. Mutii Chron. Lib. xxn. ann. 1311.— Wilcke, II. 243, 
246, 325, 339.— Schottmiiller, I. 445-6. 

Even Raynaldus (ann. 1307, No. 12) alludes to the incombustibility of the 
Templars' crosses as an evidence in their favor. 


in 1310 to obtain evidence against the Order as a whole and against 
the Grand Preceptor of Apulia, Oddo de Yaldric, show that no ob- 
stacle was thrown in the way of the inquisitors in obtaining by 
the customary methods the kind of testimony desired. The same 
may be said of Sicily, where, as we have seen, Frederic of Aragon 
had admitted the Inquisition in 1304.* 

In the States of the Church we have somewhat fuller accounts 
of the later proceedings. Although we know nothing of what 
was done at the time of arrest, there can be no doubt that in a 
territory subjected directly to Clement his bull of November 22, 
1307, was strictly obeyed; that all members of the Order w^ere 
seized and that appropriate means were employed to secure con- 
fessions. When the papal commission was sent to Paris to afford 
the Order an opportunity to prepare its defence at the Council of 
Yienne, similar commissions, armed with inquisitorial powers, 
were despatched elsewhere, and the report of Giacomo, Bishop of 
Sutri, and Master Pandolfo di Sabello, who were commissioned in 
that capacity in the Patrimony of St. Peter, although unfortu- 
nately not complete, gives us an insight into the real object which 
underlay the ostensible purpose of these commissions. In October, 
1309, the inquisitors commenced at Pome, where no one appeared 
before them, although they summoned not only members of the 
Order, but every one who had anything to say about it. In De- 
cember they w r ent to Yiterbo, where five Templars lay in prison, 
who declined to appear and defend the Order. In January, 1310, 
they proceeded to Spoleto without finding either Templars or 
other witnesses. In February they moved to Assisi, where they 
adopted the form of ordering all Templars and their fautors to be 
brought before them, and this they repeated in March at Gubbio, 
but in both places without result. In April, at Aquila, they sum- 
moned witnesses to ascertain whether the Templars had any 
churches in the Abruzzi, but not even the preceptor of the Hos- 
pitallers could give them any information. All the Franciscans of 
the place were then assembled, but they knew nothing to the dis- 
credit of the Order. A few da} T s later, at Penna, they adopted a 

* Mag. Bull. Rom. IX. 131-2. — Archivio di Napoli, MSS. Chioccarello, T. 
VIII.— Du Puy, pp. 63-4, 87, 222-6.— Raynouard, pp. 200, 279-84.— Schottmul- 
ler, II. 108 sqq. 
III.— 20 


new formula by inviting all Templars and others who desired to 
defend the Order to appear before them. Here two Templars 
were found, who were personally summoned repeatedly, but they 
refused, saying that they would not defend the Order. One of 
them, Walter of Xaples, was excused, owing to doubts as to his 
being a Templar, but the other, named Cecco, was brought before 
the inquisitors and told them of an idol kept for worship in the 
treasure-chamber of a preceptory in Apulia, In May, at Chieti, 
they succeeded in getting hold of another Templar, who confessed 
to renouncing Christ, idol-worship, and other of the charges. By 
May 23 they were back in Home issuing citations, but again with- 
out result. The following week they were back at Yiterbo, re- 
solved to procure some evidence from the five captives imprisoned 
there, but the latter again sent word that none of them wished to 
appear before the inquisitors or to defend the Order. Five times 
in all they were summoned and five times they refused, but the in- 
quisitors were not to be balked. ' Four of the prisoners were brought 
forward, and by means which can readily be guessed were induced 
to talk. From the 7th of June to the 19th, the inquisitors were 
employed in receiving their depositions as to renouncing Christ, 
spitting on the cross, etc., all of which was duly recorded as free 
and spontaneous. On July 3 the commissioners were at Albano 
issuing the customary summons, but on the 8th their messenger 
reported that he could find no Templars in Campania and Mari- 
tima; and a session at Velletri on the 16th was similarly fruitless. 
The next day they summoned other witnesses, but eight ecclesias- 
tics who appeared had nothing to tell. Then at Segni they heard 
five witnesses without obtaining any evidence. Castel Fajole and 
Tivoli were equally barren, but on the 27th, at Palombara, Walter 
of Kaples was brought to them from Penna, the doubts as to his 
membership of the Order having apparently been removed. Their 
persistence in this case was rewarded with full details of heretical 
practices. Here the record ends, the industrious search of nine 
months through these extensive territories having resulted in find- 
ing eight Templars, and obtaining seven incriminating depositions. * 
Even making allowance for those who may have succeeded in 
escaping, it shows, like the rest of the Italian proceedings, how 
scanty were the numbers of the Order in the Peninsula. 

* Schottmuller, II. 406-19. 


In the rest of Italy Clement's bull of 1307, addressed to the arch- 
bishops and ordering an inquest, seems to have been somewhat slack- 
ly obeyed. The earliest action on record is an order, in 1308, of Fra 
Ottone, Inquisitor of Lombardy, requiring the delivery of three Tem- 
plars to the Podesta of Casale. Some further impulsion apparent- 
ly was requisite, and in 1309 Giovanni, Archbishop of Pisa, was ap- 
pointed Apostolic Nuncio in charge of the affair throughout Tus- 
cany, Lombardy, Dalmatia, and Istria, with a stipend of eight 
florins per diem, to be assessed on the Templar property. In 
Ancona the Bishop of Fano examined one Templar who con- 
fessed nothing, and nineteen other witnesses who furnished no in- 
criminating evidence, and in Romagnuola, Rainaldo, Archbishop 
of Ravenna, and the Bishop of Rimini interrogated two Templars at 
Cesena, both of whom testified to the innocence of the Order. The 
archbishop, who was papal inquisitor against the Templars in Lom- 
bardy, Tuscany, Tarvisina, and Istria, seems to have extended his 
inquest over part of Lombardy, though no results are recorded. 
Papal letters were published throughout Italy, empowering the 
inquisitors to look after the Templar property, of w T hich the Arch- 
bishops of Bologna and Pisa w T ere appointed administrators; it 
was farmed out and the proceeds remitted to Clement. Rainaldo 
of Ravenna sympathized with the Templars, and no very earnest 
efforts were to be expected of him. He called a synod at Bologna 
in 1309, where some show was made of taking up the subject, but 
no results were reached, and when, in 1310, his vicar, Bonincontro, 
w T ent to Ravenna with the papal bulls, he made no secret of his 
favor towards the accused. At length Rainaldo was forced to 
action, and issued a proclamation, November 25, 1310, reciting the 
papal commands to hold provincial councils for the examination 
and judgment of the Templars, in obedience to which he summoned 
one to assemble at Ravenna in January, 1311, calling upon the in- 
quisitors to bring thither the evidence which they had obtained by 
the use of torture. The council was held and the matter discussed, 
but no conclusion was reached. Another was summoned to meet 
at Bologna on June 1, but was transferred to Ravenna and post- 
poned till June 18. To this the bishops were ordered to bring all 
Templars of their dioceses under strict guard, the result of which 
was that on June 16, seven knights were produced before the 
council. They were sworn and interrogated seriatim on all the 


articles as furnished by the pope, which they unanimously denied. 
The question was then put to the council whether they should be 
tortured, and it was answered in the negative, in spite of the oppo- 
sition of two Dominican inquisitors present. It was decided that 
the case should not be referred to the pope, in view of the nearness 
of the Council of Yienne, but that the accused should be put upon 
their purgation. The next day, however, when the council met 
this action was reversed and there was a unanimous decision that 
the innocent should be acquitted and the guilty punished, reckon- 
ing among the innocent those who had confessed through fear of 
torture and had revoked, or who would have revoked but for fear 
of repetition of torture. As for the Order as a whole, the coun- 
cil recommended that it should be preserved if a majority of the 
members were innocent, and if the guilty were subjected to abju- 
ration and punishment within the Order. In addition to the 
seven knights there were five brethren who were ordered to purge 
themselves by August 1, before Uberto, Bishop of Bologna, with 
seven conjurators; of these the purgations of two are extant, 
and doubtless all succeeded in performing the ceremony. It was 
no wonder that Clement was indignant at this reversal of all in- 
quisitorial usage and ordered the burning of those who had thus 
relapsed — though the command was probably not obeyed, as 
Bishop Bini assures us that no Templars were burned in Italy. 
The council further, in appointing delegates to Yienne, instructed 
them that the Order should not be abolished unless it was found 
to be thoroughly corrupted. For Tuscany and Lombardy, Clement 
appointed as special inquisitors Giovanni, Archbishop of Pisa, 
Antonio, Bishop of Florence, and Pietro Giudici of Rome, a canon 
of Yerona. These were instructed to hold the inquests, one upon 
the brethren individually and one upon the Order. They were 
troubled with no scruples as to the use of torture and, as we 
shall presently see, secured a certain amount of the kind of testi- 
mony desired. Yenice kindly postponed the inevitable uprooting 
of the Order, and when it eventually took place there was no un- 
necessary hardship.* 

* Regest. Clement. PP. Y T. IV. p. 301. — Bini, pp. 420-1, 424, 427-8.— 
Raynald. ann. 1309, Xo. 3. — Raynouard, pp. 273-77. — Cbron. Parmens. ann. 
1309 (Muratori S. R, I. IX. 880).— Du Puy, pp. 57-8.— Rubei Hist. Ravennat. Ed. 


Cyprus was the headquarters of the Order. There resided the 
marshal, Ay me d'Osiliers, who was its chief in the absence of the 
Grand Master, and there was the " Convent," or governing body. 
It was not until May, 1308, that the papal bull commanding the 
arrest reached the island, and there could be no pretence of a secret 
and sudden seizure, for the Templars were advised of what had 
occurred in France. They had many enemies, for they had taken 
an active part in the turbulent politics of the time, and it had been 
by their aid that the regent, Amaury of Tyre, had been placed in 
power. He hastened to obey the papal commands, but with many 
misgivings, for the Templars at first assumed an attitude of de- 
fence. Resistance, however, was hopeless, and in a few weeks they 
submitted ; their property was sequestrated and they were kept in 
honorable confinement, without being deprived of the sacraments. 
This continued for two years, until, in April, 1310, the Abbot of 
Alet and the Archpriest Tommaso of Rieti came as papal inquisi- 
tors to inquire against them individually and the Order in general, 
under the guidance of the Bishops of Limisso and Famagosta. 
The examination commenced May 1 and continued until June 5, 
when it came abruptly to an end, in consequence, doubtless, of the 
excitement caused by the murder of the Regent Amaury. All the 
Templars on the island, seventy -five in number, together with fifty- 
six other witnesses, were duly interrogated upon the long list of 
articles of accusation. That the Templars were unanimous in 
denying the charges and in asserting the purity of the Order 
shows that torture cannot have been employed. More convincing 
as to their innocence is the evidence of the other witnesses, con- 
sisting of ecclesiastics of all ranks, nobles, and burghers, many of 
them political enemies, who yet rendered testimony emphatically 
favorable. As some of them said, they knew nothing but good 
of the Order. Ail dwelt upon its liberal charities, and many de- 
scribed the fervor of the zeal with which the Templars discharged 
their religious duties. A few alluded to the popular suspicions 
aroused by the secrecy observed in the holding of chapters and 
the admission of neophytes ; the Dominican Prior of Nicosia spoke 

1589, pp. 517, 521, 522, 524, 525, 526.— Campi, Dell' Hist. Eccles. di Piacenza, P. 
in. p. 41. — Barbarauo dei Mironi Hist. Eccles. di Vicenza, II. 157-8. — Anton, 
Versuch einer Geschichte der Tempelherrenordens, Leipzig, 1779, p. 139. 


of the reports brought from France by his brethren after the arrest, 
and Simon de Sarezariis, Prior of the Hospitallers, said that he had 
had similar intelligence sent to him by his correspondents, but the 
evidence is unquestionable that in Cyprus, where they were best 
known, among friends and foes, and especially among those who 
had been in intimate relations with the Templars for long periods, 
there was general sympathy for the Order, and that there had 
been no evil attributed to it until the papal bulls had so unquali- 
fiedly asserted its guilt. All this, when sent to Clement, was nat- 
urally most unsatisfactory, and when the time approached for the 
Council of Vienne, he despatched urgent orders, in August, 1311, 
to have the Templars tortured so as to procure confessions. What 
was the result of this we have no means of knowing.* 

In Aragon, Philippe's letter of October 16, 1307, to Jayme II. 
was accompanied with one from the Dominican, Fray Romeo de 
Bruguera, asserting that he had been present at the confession 
made by de Molay and others. Notwithstanding this, on Novem- 
ber 17 Jayme, like Edward II., responded with warm praises of 
the Templars of the kingdom, whom he refused to arrest without 
absolute proof of guilt or orders from the pope. To the latter he 
wrote two days later for advice and instructions, and when, on 
December 1, he received Clement's bull of November 22, he could 
hesitate no longer. Eamon, Bishop of Valencia, and Ximenes de 
Luna, Bishop of Saragossa, who chanced to be with him, received 
orders to make in their respective dioceses diligent inquisition 
against the Templars, and Fray Juan Llotger, Inquisitor-general of 
Aragon, was instructed to extirpate the heresy. As resistance was 
anticipated, royal letters were issued December 3 for the immediate 
arrest of all members of the Order and the sequestration of their 
property, and the inquisitor published edicts summoning them be- 
fore him in the Dominican Convent of Valencia, to answer for their 
faith, and prohibiting all local officials from rendering them assist- 
ance. Jayme also summoned a council of the prelates to meet Jan- 
uary 6, 1308, to deliberate on the subject with the inquisitor. A 
number of arrests were effected ; some of the brethren shaved and 

* Schottmuller, I. 457-69, 494 ; II. 147-400.— Du Puy, pp. 63, 106-7.— Ray- 
nouard, p. 285. 


threw off their mantles and succeeded in hiding themselves ; some 
endeavored to escape b} r sea with a quantity of treasure, but ad- 
verse storms cast them back upon the coast and they were seized. 
The great body of the knights, however, threw themselves into 
their castles. Ramon Sa Guardia, Preceptor of Mas Deu in Rous- 
sillon, was acting as lieutenant of the Commander of Aragon, and 
fortified himself in Miravet, while others occupied the strongholds 
of Ascon, Montco, Cantavieja, Vilell, Castellot, and Chalamera. 
On January 20, 1308, they were summoned to appear before the 
Council of Tarragona, but they refused, and Jay me promised the 
prelates that he would use the whole forces of the kingdom for 
their subjugation. This proved no easy task. The temporal and 
spiritual lords promised assistance, except the Count of Urgel, the 
Viscount of Rocaberti, and the Bishop of Girona ; but public sym- 
pathy was with the Templars. Many noble youths embraced 
their cause and joined them in their castles, while the people 
obeyed slackly the order to take up arms against them. The 
knights defended themselves bravely. Castellot surrendered in 
November, soon after which Sa Guardia, in Miravet, rejected the 
royal ultimatum that they should march out with their arms and 
betake themselves by twos and threes to places of residence, from 
which they were not to wander farther than two or three bow- 
shots, receiving a liberal allowance for their support, while the 
king should ask the pope to order the bishops and inquisitors to 
expedite the process. In response to this Sa Guardia addressed 
Clement a manly appeal, pointing out the services rendered to re- 
ligion by the Order ; that many knights captured by the Saracens 
languished in prison for twenty or thirty years, when by abjuring 
they could at once regain their liberty and be richly rewarded — 
seventy of their brethren were at that moment enduring such a 
fate. They were ready to appear in judgment before the pope, or 
to maintain their faith against all accusers by arms, as was custom- 
ary with knights, but they had no prelates or advocates to defend 
them, and it was the duty of the pope to do so. A month after 
this Miravet was forced to surrender at discretion, and in another 
month all the rest, except Montco and Chalamera, which held out 
until near July, 1309. Clement at once took measures to get pos- 
session of the Templar property, but Jayme refused to deliver it 
to the papal commissioners, alleging that most of it had been de- 


rived from the crown, and that he had made heavy outlays on the 
sieges ; the most that he would promise was that if the council 
should abolish the Order he would surrender the property, subject 
to the rights and claims of the crown. Clement seems to have 
sought a temporary compromise. In letters of January 5, 1309, 
he announces that the Templars of Aragon and Catalonia, like 
faithful sons of the Church, had written to him offering to surren- 
der their persons and property to the Holy See, and to obey his 
commands in every way ; he therefore sends his chaplain, Ber- 
tram!, Prior of Cessenon, to receive them and transfer them to the 
custody and care of the king, taking from him sealed letters that 
he holds them in the name of the Holy See. Whether Jayme as- 
sented to this arrangement as to the property does not appear, but 
he was not punctilious about the persons of the Templars, and on 
July 1-i he issued orders to the viguiers to deliver them to the in- 
quisitor and ordinaries when required. In 1310 Clement sent to 
Aragon, as elsewhere, special papal inquisitors to conduct the trials. 
Thev were met bv the same difficulties as in England : in Aragon 
torture was not recognized bv the law, and in 1325 we find the 
Cortes protesting against its use and against the inquisitorial pro- 
cess as infractions of the recognized liberties of the land, and the 
king admitting the protest and promising that such methods should 
not be employed except for counterfeiters, and then only in the 
case of strangers and vagabonds. Still the inquisitors did what 
they could. At their request the king, July 5, 1310, ordered his 
baillis to put the Templars in irons and to render their prison 
harsher. Then the Council of Tarragona interfered and asked 
that they be kept in safe but not afflictive custody, seeing that 
nothing had as yet proved their guilt, and their case was still un- 
decided. In accordance with this, on October 20, the king ordered 
that they should be free in the castles where they were confined, 
giving their parole not to escape under pain of being reputed her- 
etics. This was not the way to obtain the desired evidence, and 
Clement, March 18, 1311, ordered them to be tortured, and asked 
Jayme to lend his aid to it, seeing that the proceedings thus far 
had resulted only in "vehement suspicion." This cruel command 
was not at first obeyed. In May the Templars prayed the king 
to urge the Archbishop of Tarragona to have their case decided in 
the council then impending, and Jayme accordingly addressed the 


archbishop to that effect, but nothing was done, and in August he 
ordered them to be again put in chains and harshly imprisoned. 
The papal representatives were evidently growing impatient, as 
the time set for the Council of Yienne was approaching, and the 
papal demands for adverse evidence remained unsatisfied. Finally, 
on the eve of the assembling of the council, the king yielded to the 
pope. September 29 he issued an order appointing Umbert de Cap- 
depont, one of the royal judges, to assist at the judgment, when 
sentence should be rendered by the inquisitors, Pedro de Montclus 
and Juan Llotger, along with the Bishops of Lerida and Yich, who 
had been especially commissioned by the pope. We have no 
knowledge of the details of the investigation, but there is evidence 
that torture was unsparingly used, for there is a royal letter of 
December 3 ordering medicaments to be prepared for those of the 
Templars who might need them in consequence of sickness or tort- 
ure. At last, in March, 1312, the Archbishop of Tarragona asked 
to have them brought before his provincial council, then about to 
assemble, and the king assented, but nothing was done, probably 
because the Council of Yienne was still in session ; but after the 
dissolution of the Order had been proclaimed by Clement, and the 
fate of the members was relegated to the local councils, one was 
held, October 18, 1312, at Tarragona, which decided the question 
so long pending. The Templars were brought before it and rigor- 
ously examined. November 4 the sentence was publicly read, 
pronouncing an unqualified acquittal from all the errors, crimes, 
and impostures with which they were charged ; they were declared 
beyond suspicion, and no one should dare to defame them. In 
view of the dissolution of the Order the council was somewhat 
puzzled to know what to do with them, but after prolonged debate 
it was determined that until the pope should otherwise decree 
they should reside in the dioceses in which their property lay, re- 
ceiving proper support from their sequestrated lands. This decree 
was carried out, and when the property passed into the hands of 
the Hospitallers it was burdened with these charges. In 1319 a 
list of pensions thus payable by the Hospitallers would seem to 
show that the Templars were liberally provided for, and received 
what was due to them.* 

* Allart, Bulletin de la Socigte" des Pyr6n§es Orientales, 1807, Tom. XV. pp. 
37-42, 67-9, 72, 76-8, 94-6.— Zurita, Aiiales de Aragon, Lib. v. c. 72, Lib. vi. c. 


Jay me I. of Majorca was in no position to resist the pressure 
brought upon him by Philippe le Bel and Clement. His little 
kingdom consisted of the Balearic Isles, the counties of Koussillon 
and Cerdagne, the Seignory of Montpellier and a few other scat- 
tered possessions at the mercy of his powerful neighbor. He 
promptly therefore obeyed the papal bull of Kovember 22, 1307, 
and by the end of the month the Templars in his dominions were 
all arrested. In Eoussillon the only preceptory was that of Mas 
Deu, which was one of the strongholds of the land, and there the 
Templars were collected and confined to the number of twenty- 
five, including the Preceptor, Eamon Sa Guardia, the gallant de- 
fender of Miravet, who after his surrender was demanded by the 
King of Majorca and willingly joined his comrades. AVe know 
nothing of what took place on the islands beyond the fact of the 
arrest, but on the mainland we can follow with some exactness 
the course of events. Roussillon constituted the diocese of Elne, 
which was suffragan to the archbishopric of Xarbonne. May 5, 
1309, the archbishop sent to Ramon Costa, Bishop of Elne, the ar- 
ticles of accusation with the papal bull ordering an inquest. The 
good bishop seems to have been in no haste to comply, but, plead- 
ing illness, postponed the matter until January, 1310. Then, in 
obedience to the instructions, he summoned two Franciscans and 
two Dominicans, and with two of his cathedral canons he pro- 
ceeded to interrogate the prisoners. It is evident that no torture 
was employed, for in their prolonged examinations they substan- 
tially agreed in asserting the purity and piety of the Order, and 
their chaplain offered in evidence their book of ritual for recep- 
tions in the vernacular, commencing, " Quan oleum proom requer 
la eompaya de la May so P With manly indignation they refused 
to believe that the Grand Master and chiefs of the Order had con- 
fessed to the truth of the charges, but if they had done so they 
had lied in their throats — or, as one of them phrased it, they were 
demons in human skin. With regard to the cord of chastity, an 
humble peasant serving brother explained not only that it was 
procured wherever they chose, but that if it chanced to break 

61.— Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. IV. pp. 435 sqq.— La Fuente, Hist. Ecles. de 
Espana, II. 369-70. — Ptol. Lucens. Hist. Eccles= Lib. xxiv. (Muratori S. R. I. XL 
1228).— Concil. Tarraconens. aim. 1312 CAguirre, VI. 233-4). 


while ploughing it was at once temporarily replaced with one 
made of reeds. The voluminous testimony was forwarded, with a 
simple certificate of its accuracy, by Bishop Kamon, August 31, 
1310, which shows that he was in no haste to transmit it. It could 
have proved in no sense satisfactory, and there can be little doubt 
that the cruel orders of Clement, in March, 1311, to procure con- 
fessions by torture were duly obeyed, for Jean de Bourgogne, sac- 
ristan of Majorca, was appointed by Clement inquisitor for the 
Templars in Aragon, Navarre, and Majorca, and the same methods 
must unquestionably have been followed in all the kingdoms. 
After the Council of Yienne there ensued a rather curious con- 
troversy between the archbishops of Tarragona and Narbonne on 
the subject. The former, with the Bishop of Valencia, was papal 
custodian of Templar property in Aragon, Majorca, and Navarre. 
He seems thus to have imagined that he held jurisdiction over the 
Templars of Eoussillon, for, October 15, 1313, he declared Ramon 
Sa Guardia absolved and innocent, and directed him to live with 
his brethren at Mas Deu, with a pension of three hundred and 
fifty livres, and the use of the gardens and orchards, the other 
Templars having pensions ranging from one hundred to thirty 
livres. Yet, in September, 1315, Bernard, Archbishop of Nar- 
bonne, ordered Bishop Ramon's successor Guillen to bring to the 
provincial council which he had summoned all the Templars im- 
prisoned in his diocese, together with the documents relating to 
their trials, in order that their persons might be disposed of. King 
Jayme I. had died in 1311, but his son and successor, Sancho, in- 
tervened, saying that Clement had placed the Templars in his 
charge, and he would not surrender them without a papal order 
— the papacy at that time being vacant, with little prospect of an 
early election. He added that if they were to be punished it be- 
longed to him to have them tried in his court, and to protect his 
jurisdiction he appealed to the future pope and council. This was 
effectual, and the Templars remained undisturbed. A statement 
of pensions paid in 1319 shows that of the twenty-five examined 
at Mas Deu in 1310 ten had died ; the remainder, with one addi- 
tional brother, were drawing pensions amounting in the aggregate 
to nine hundred and fifty livres a year. On the island of Majorca 
there were still nine whose total pensions were three hundred and 
sixty-two livres ten sols. In 1329 there were still nine Templars 


receiving pensions allotted on the Preceptory of Mas Deu, though 
most of them had retired to their houses, for they do not appear 
to have been restricted as to their place of residence. By this 
time the indomitable Ramon Sa Guardia's name had disappeared. 
One by one they dropped off, until in 1350 there was but a single 
survivor, the knight Berenger dez Coll.* 

In Castile no action seems to have been taken until the bull 
Faciens misericord imn of August 12, 1308, was sent to the prel- 
ates ordering them to act in conjunction with the Dominican, 
Eymeric de Xavas, as inquisitor. Fernando IV. then ordered the 
Templars arrested, and their lands placed in the hands of the 
bishops until the fate of the Order should be determined. There 
was no alacrity, however, in pursuing the affair, for it was not 
until April 15, 1310, that Archbishop Gonzalo of Toledo cited the 
Master of Castile, Rodrigo Ybafiez, and his brethren to appear be- 
fore him at Toledo. For the province of Compostella, comprising 
Portugal, the archbishop held a council at Medina del Campo, 
where thirty Templars and three other witnesses were examined, 
all of whom testified in favor of the Order ; a priest swore that 
he had heard the confessions of many Templars on their death- 
beds, as well as others mortally wounded by the infidel, and all 
were orthodox. Xo better success attended inquests held by the 
Bishop of Lisbon at Medina Celi and Orense. The only judicial 
action of which we have notice was that of the Council of Sala- 
manca for the province of Compostella, where the Templars were 
unanimously acquitted, and the cruel orders to torture them issued 
the next year by Clement seem to have been disregarded. After 
the Order was dissolved the Templars for the most part continued 
to lead exemplary lives. Many retired to the mountains and ended 
their da} T s as anchorites, and after death their bodies remained in- 
corruptible, in testimony of the saintliness of their martyrdom.f 

* Allart, op. cit. pp. 34, 42, 66, 69, 72-4, 79, 81-4, 86, 93-8, 105.— Proces, II. 424- 
515. — Yaissette, IV. 153. 

I have met with no details as to the treatment of the Templars of Navarre; 
but as Louis Hutin, son of Philippe le Bel, succeeded to that kingdom in 1307, 
of course the French methods prevailed there, and the papal Inquisitor, Jean de 
Bourgogne, had full opportunity to procure testimony in what manner was most 

t Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. III. pp. 289, 299.— Llorente, Ch. in. Ait. 2, No. 


Portugal belonged ecclesiastically to the province of Compos- 
tella, and the Bishop of Lisbon, commissioned to investigate the 
Order, found no ground for the charges. The fate of the Templars 
there was exceptionally fortunate, for King Diniz, grateful for 
their services in his wars with the Saracens, founded a new Order, 
that of Jesus Christ, or de Avis, and procured its approval in 1318 
from John XXII. To this safe refuge the Templars and their 
lands were transferred, the commander and many of the precep- 
tors retaining their rank, and the new Order was thus merely a 
continuation of the old.* 

The pariod finally set for the Council of Yienne was approach- 
ing, and thus far Clement had failed to procure any evidence of 
weight against the Templars beyond the boundaries of France, 
where bishop and inquisitor had been the tools of Philippe's re- 
morseless energy. Clement may at the first have been Philippe's 
unwilling accomplice, but if so he had long since gone too far to 
retract. Whether, as believed by many of his contemporaries, he 
was sharing the spoils, is of little moment. He had committed 
himself personally to all Europe, in the bull of November 22, 1307, 
to the assertion of the Templars' guilt, and had repeated this em- 
phatically in his subsequent utterances, with details admitting of 
no retraction or explanation ; he, as well as they, was on trial 
before Christendom, and their acquittal by the council would be 
his conviction. He was, therefore, no judge, but an antagonist, 
forced by the instinct of self-preservation to destroy them, no mat- 
ter through what unscrupulous methods. As the council drew 
near his anxiety increased, and he cast around for means to secure 
the testimony which should justify him by proving the heresy of 
the Order. We have seen how he urged Edward II. to introduce 
torture into the hitherto unpolluted courts of England, and how he 
succeeded in having the brethren of Aragon tortured in violation 
of the liberties of the land. These were but specimens of a series 
of bulls, perhaps the most disgraceful that ever proceeded from a 
vicegerent of God. From Cyprus to Portugal, prince and prel- 

6, 7.— Mariana, Lib. xv. c. 10 (Ed. 1789, p. 390, note).— Raynouard, pp. 128, 265- 
66.— Aguirre, VI. 230.— La Fuente, Hist. Ecles. II. 368-70. 

* Raynouard, pp. 204, 267. — Raynald. aim. 1317, No. 40.— Zurita, Lib. vi. c. 
26.— La Fuente, II. 872. 


ate were ordered to obtain confessions by torture ; in some places. 
he said, it had been negligently and imprudently omitted, and the 
omission must be repaired. The canons required that in such 
cases those who refused to confess must be submitted to a " re 
ligious torturer" and the truth thus be forced from them. So 
st was he that he wrote to his legate in Rhodes to go to 
rus and p rtly see it was done. The result in such 

cases was to be sent to him as speedily as poss 

How much of human agony these inhuman orders caused can 
never be known. It was not merely that those who had hitherto 
l 8] rack were now subjected to it. but. in the eager- 

i 58 to supplement the evidence nd. those who had already 

under^one torture were brought from their >ns and again 

subjected to it with enhanced severity, in order to obtain from 
them still more extravagant admissions of guilt. Thus at Flor- 
ence thirteen Templars had been duly -itioned in 1310, and 
some of them had confessed. Under the fresh papal urgency the 
inquisitors again - 1 in September, 1811. and put ti 
through a fresh series xaminations. Six of them vielded testi- 
mony in every way s I sfactory — the adoration of idols and cats 
and the res:. Seven of them, however, were obstinate, and testi- 
fied to the inn tader. The inquisitors showed their 
I >n of what Clement wanted by sending him only the 
six ooi >. The other seven brethren, they reported, had 

d duly tortured, but had stated nothing that was worth the 
sending, s were serving brethren or newlv initiated mem- 

bers who. presumably, were ignorant — although e the 

most damaging 1 been oed from such brethren 

and utilized. Clement evidently knew his man when he selected 

Arehb> Pis - the head of this inquisition. "We hap- 

pen : .lustration of the results of Clement's urgency 

::: preparix.: : r the council. In the Chateau d'Alais the Bishop 
of Ximes held thirty-three T rs who had already been ex- 

amined and confessions extorted fr me of them, which had 

i stly been retracted. Under Clement's orders for fresh tortures 

nty-nine survivors of these four having meanwhile died in 
prison were brought out in August. 1311. Some of them had 

* B .vnald. ann. 1311. Nc : ■: — Raynooard, pp 166-7— Schottmuller, I. 395. 


already been tortured three years before, but now all were tort- 
ured again, with the result of obtaining the kind of testimony re- 
quired, including demon- worship.* 

In spite of all these precautions it required the most arbitrary 
use of both papal and kingly influence to force from the council a 
reluctant assent to what was evidently regarded by Christendom 
as the foulest injustice. It is, perhaps, significant that the acts of 
the council vanished from the papal archives, and we are left to 
gather its proceedings from such fragmentary allusions as occur 
in contemporary chroniclers and from the papal bulls which re- 
cord its results. Good orthodox Catholics have even denied to it 
the right to be considered (Ecumenic, in spite of the presence of 
more than three hundred bishops from all the states of Europe, 
the presidency of a pope, and the book of canon laws which was 
adopted in it, no one knows how.f 

The first question to be settled was Clement's demand that the 
Order should be condemned without a hearing. He had, as we 
have seen, solemnly summoned it to appear, through its chiefs and 
procurators, before the council, and had ordered the Cardinal of 

* Bini,p. 501. — Raynouard, pp. 233-5, 303. — Vaissette, IV. 140-1. 

f Hefele, Conciliengeschichte I. 66. — Franz Ehrle, Archiv f. Litt.- u. Kirchen- 
geschichte, 1886, p. 353. — The apologetic tone in which it was felt necessary to 
speak of the acts of the council with regard to the Templars is well illustrated 
by a Vatican MS. quoted by Raynaldus, ann. 1311, No. 54. 

Only fragments have reached us of the vast accumulation of documents re- 
specting the case of the Templars. In the migrations of Clement V. doubtless 
some were lost (Franz Ehrle, Archiv fur Litt- u. Kirchengesch. 1885, p. 7) ; 
others in the Schism, when Benedict XIII. carried a portion of the archives to 
Peniscola (Schottmuller, I. 705), and others again in the transport of the papers 
of the curia from Avignon to Rome. When, in 1810, Napoleon ordered the 
papal archives transferred to Paris, where they remained until 1815, the first 
care of General Radet, the French Inspector-general of Rome, was to secure 
those concerning the trials of the Templars and of Galileo (Regest. Clement. 
PP. V., Romae, 1885, T. I. Proleg, p. ccxxix.). During their stay in Paris Ray- 
nouard utilized them in the work so often quoted above, but even then only a 
few seem to have been accessible, and of these a portion are now not to be found 
in the Vatican MSS.« although Schottmuller, the most recent investigator, ex- 
presses a hope that the missing ones may yet be traced (op. cit. I. 713). The 
number of boxes sent to Paris amounted to 3239, and the papal archivists com- 
plained that many documents were not restored. The French authorities de- 
clared that the papal agents to whom they had been delivered sold immense 
quantities to grocers (Reg. Clem. V. Proleg. pp. ccxciii.-ccxcviii.). 


Palestrina, whom he had appointed their custodian, to present 
them for that purpose ; he had organized a commission expressly 
to listen to those who were willing to defend it, and to arrange for 
them to nominate procurators, and he had uttered no protest when 
Philippe's savage violence had put an end to the attempt. Now 
the council had met and the chiefs of the Order were not brought 
before it. The subject was too delicate a one to be trusted to the 
body of the council, and a picked convocation was formed of prel- 
ates selected from the nations represented — Spain, France, Italy, 
Germany, Hungary, England, Ireland, and Scotland — to discuss 
the matter with the pope and cardinals. On a day in November, 
while this body was listening to the reports sent in by the inquis- 
itors, suddenly there appeared before them seven Templars offer- 
ing to defend the Order in the name, they said, of fifteen hundred 
or two thousand brethren, refugees who were wandering in the 
mountains of the Lyonnais. In place of hearing them, Clement 
promptly cast them into prison, and when, a few days later, two 
more, undeterred by the fate of their predecessors, made a similar 
attempt, they were likewise incarcerated. Clement's principal 
emotion was fear for his own life from the desperation of the out- 
casts, leading him to take extra precautions and to advise Philippe 
to do the same. This was not calculated to make the prelates 
feel less keenly the shame of what they were asked to do, for 
which the only reason alleged was the injury to the Holy Land 
arising from the delay to be anticipated from discussion ; and when 
the matter came to a vote only one Italian bishop and three 
Frenchmen (the Archbishops of Sens, Reims, and Rouen, who had 
burned the relapsed Templars) were found to record themselves in 
favor of the infamy of condemning the Order unheard. They 
might well hesitate. In Germany, Italy, and Spain provincial 
councils had solemnly declared that they couJd find no evil in the 
Order or its members. In England the Templars had only con- 
fessed themselves defamed of heresy. In France alone had there 
been any general confession of guilt. Even if individuals were 
guilty, they had been condemned to appropriate penance, and there 
was no warrant for destroying without a hearing so noble a mem- 
ber of the Church Militant as the great Order of the Temple.* 

* Bull. Vox in excelso (Van Os, pp. 72-4).— Du Puy, pp. 177-8.— Ptol. Lucens. 



Clement vainly used every effort to win over the Council. The 
most that he could do was to prolong the discussion until the 
middle of February, 1312, when Philippe, who had called a meet- 
ing of the Three Estates at Lyons, hard by Vienne, came thence 
with Charles de Yalois, his three sons and a following numerous 
enough to impress the prelates with his power. A royal order of 
March 14 to the Seneschal of Toulouse to make a special levy to 
defray the expenses of the delegates sent by that city successively 
to Tours, Poitiers, Lyons, and Vienne, " on the business of the faith 
or of the Templars," shows how the policy, begun at Tours, of 
overawing the Church by pressure from the laity of the king- 
dom was unscrupulously pursued to the end. Active discussions 
followed. Philippe had dexterously brought forward again the 
question of the condemnation of Boniface VIII. for heresy, which 
he had promised, a year previous, to abandon. It was an impossi- 
bility to grant this without impugning the legitimacy of Boniface's 
cardinals and of Clement's election, but it served the purpose of 
affording an apparent concession. The combined pressure brought 
to bear upon the council became too strong for further resistance, 
and the Gordian knot was resolutely severed. In a secret con- 
sistory of cardinals and prelates held March 22, Clement presented 
the bull Vox in excelso, in which he admitted that the evidence did 
not canonically justify the definitive condemnation of the Order, 
but he argued that it had been so scandalized that no honorable 
men hereafter could enter it, that delay would lead to the dilapida- 
tion of its possessions with consequent damage to the Holy Land, 
and that, therefore, its provisional abolition by the Holy See was 
expedient. April 3 the second session of the council was held, 
in which the bull was published, and Clement apologized for it by 

Hist. Eccles. Lib. xxiv. (Muratori S. R. I. XL 1236).— Ray nouarcl, p. 187.— Cf. 
Raynald. aun. 1311, No. 55. 

If Schottrauller's assumption be correct as to the "Deminutio laboris exami- 
nantium processus contra orclinem Templi in Anglia," printed by him from a 
Vatican MS. (op cit. II. 78 sqq.) — that it was prepared to be laid before the 
commission of the Council of Vienne, it shews the unscrupulous manner in 
which the evidence was garbled for the purpose of misleading those who were 
to sit in judgment. All the favorable testimony is suppressed and the wild- 
est gossip of women and monks is seriously presented as though it were incon- 
III.— 21 


explaining that it was necessary to propitiate his dear son, the 
King of France. If the popular belief was that the sentence was 
rendered by Philippe's command, it was not without justification. 
Thus, after all this cruelty and labor, the Order was abolished 
without being convicted. There can be little doubt that the coun- 
cil acquiesced willingly in this solution of the question. The 
individual members were thus relieved of responsibility, and they 
felt that the Order had been so foully dealt with that policy re- 
quired injustice to be carried out to the bitter end.* 

The next point to be determined was the disposition of the 
Templar property, which gave rise to a long and somewhat bitter 
debate. Various plans were proposed, but finally Clement suc- 

* Jo. Hocsemii Gest. Episcc. Leodiens. (Chapeaville, II. 345). — Baudouin. Let- 
tres ineditesde Philippe le Bel, p. 179. — Chron. Cornel. Zantfliet ann. 1307 (Mar- 
tene Ampl. Coll. V. 154). — Bull. Vox in excelso (Van Os, pp. 75-77). — Bern. 
Guidon. Flor. Chron. (Bouquet, XXI. 721).— Wilcke, II. 307.— Gurtleri Hist. 
Templarior. Arastel. 1703, p. 365.— Vertot. Hist, des Chev. de Malthe, Ed. 1755, 
Tom II. p. 136.— Contin. Guill. Xangiac. ann. 1311-12.— Martin. Polon. Contin. 
(Eccard. I. 1438).— Trithem. Chron. Hirsaug. ann. 1307. 

When, in 1773, Clement XIV. desired to abolish the Order of Jesuits by an 
arbitrary exercise of papal power, he did not fail to find a precedent in the sup- 
pression of the Templars by Clement V. — as he says in his bull of July 22, 1773, 
u Etiamsi concilium generale Viennense, cui negotium examinandum commiserat, 
a formali et definitiva sententia ferenda censuerit se abstinere." — Bullar. Roman. 
Contin. Prati, 1847, V. 620. 

The wits of the day did not allow the affair to pass unimproved. Bernard 
Gui cites as current at the time the Leonine verse, ;i Res est exempli destructa 
superbia Templi." 1 Hocsemius quotes for us a chronogram by P. de Awans, pos- 
sibly alluding to the treasure which Philippe gained — 

"Excidium Templi nimia pinguedine rempli 
Ad LILIVM duo C consocianda doce." 

To minds of other temper there were not lacking portents to prove the anger 
of Heaven, whether at the crimes of the Order or at its destruction — eclipses of 
sun and moon, parabulia, paraselenae, fires darting from earth to heaven, thunder 
in clear sky. Xear Padua a mare dropped a foal with nine feet; flocks of birds 
of an unknown species were seen in Lombard? ; throughout the Paduan terri- 
tory a rainy winter was succeeded by a dry summer with hail-storms, so that 
the harvests were a failure. No Etruscan haruspex or Roman augur could wish 
for clearer omens : it reads like a page of Livy. — Albertini Mussati Hist. August. 
Rubr. x. xi. (Muratori S. R. I. X. 377-9).— Cf. Ptol. Lucens. Hist. Eccles. Lib. 
xxiy. (lb. XI. 1233) ; Pr. Jordan. Chron. ann. 1314 (Muratori Antiq. XI. 789). 


ceeded in procuring its transfer to the Hospitallers. It may not 
be true that they bribed him heavily to accomplish this, but such 
a belief prevailed extensively at the time, and sufficiently illus- 
trates the estimate entertained of him by his contemporaries. 
May 2 the bull Ad providam announced that, although in view of 
the proceedings thus far had the Order could not legally be sup- 
pressed, it was provisionally and irrevocably abolished by apos- 
tolic ordinance ; it was placed under perpetual inhibition, and any 
one presuming to enter it or to assume its habit incurred ipso facto 
excommunication. All the property of the Order was assumed by 
the Holy See, and was transferred to the Hospital of St. John of 
Jerusalem, saving in the kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, Majorca, and 
Portugal. As early as August, 1310, Jayme of Aragon had urged 
his brother monarchs to unite with him in defending their claims 
before the papal court ; and though he disregarded Clement's in- 
vitation to appear in person before the council to state his rea- 
sons, the three kings took care to have their views energetically 
represented. Elsewhere, all who occupied and detained such 
property, no matter what their rank or station, were required, 
under pain of excommunication, to hand it over to the Hospital- 
lers within a month after summons. This bull was sent to all 
princes and prelates, and the latter were instructed to enforce the 
surrender of the property by a vigorous use of excommunication 
and interdict.* 

The burning question as to the property being thus settled, the 
less material one as to the persons of the Templars was shuffled 
off by referring them to their provincial councils for judgment, 
with the exception of the chiefs of the Order still reserved to the 
Holy See. All fugitives were cited to appear within a year before 
their bishops for examination and sentence ; failure to do so in- 
curred ipso facto excommunication, which if endured for another 

* Contin. Guill. Nangiac. aim. 1312— Raynald. aim. 1312, No. 5.— Hocsemil 
Gest. Episcopp. Leod. (Chapeaville, II. 346).— Chron. Fr. Pipini c. 49 (Muratori 
S. R. I. IX. 750).— Chron. Astens. c. 27 (lb. XL 194).— Chron. Cornel. Zantflict 
ann. 1310 (Martene Ampl. Coll. V. 160).— Walsingham (D'Argentre" I. i. 280).— 
Raynouard, pp. 197-8.— Bull. Ad providam (Rymer, III. 323.— Mag. Bull. Rom. 
IX. 149.— Harduin. VII. 1341-8).— Bull. Nuper in generali (Rymer III. 326. Mag. 
Bull. Rom. IX. 150).— Zurita, Lib. v. c. 99.— Allart, op. cit. pp. 71-2.— Schmidt, 
Pabstliche Urkunden, p. 81. 


year became condemnation for heresy. General instructions were 
given that the impenitent and relapsed were to be visited with the 
utmost penalties of the law. Those who, even under torture, denied 
all knowledge of error afforded a problem insoluble to the wisdom 
of the council and were referred to the provincial councils to be 
treated as justice and the equity of the canons required : to those 
who confessed, the rigor of justice should be tempered with abun- 
dant mercy. They were to be placed in the former houses of the 
Order or in monasteries, taking care that no great number should 
be herded together, and be decently maintained out of the property 
of the Order. Interest in the subject, however, passed away with 
the alienation of the property, and few provincial councils seem to 
have been held save those of Tarragona and Xarbonne already men- 
tioned. Many Templars rotted to death in their dungeons ; some 
of the so-called "relapsed"' were burned; many wandered over 
Europe as homeless vagabonds ; others maintained themselves as 
best they might by manual labor. In Xaples, curiously enough, 
John XXII. in 1318 ordered them to be supported by the Domin- 
icans and Franciscans. When some attempted to marry, John 
XXII. pronounced that their vows were still binding and their 
marriages void, thus admitting that their reception had been regu- 
lar and not vitiated. He likewise assumed their orthodoxy when he 
permitted them to enter other Orders. A certain number of them 
did so, especially in Germany, where their fate was less bitter than 
elsewhere, and where the Hospitallers welcomed them by formal 
resolution of the Conference of Frankfurt -am-Mayn in 1317. The 
last Preceptor of Brandenburg, Frederic of Alvensleben, was re- 
ceived into the Hospital with the same preferment. In fact, popu- 
lar sympathy in Germany seems to have led to the assignment to 
them of revenues of which the Hospitallers complained as an in- 
supportable burden, and in 1318 John XXII. ordered that they 
should not be so provided for as to enable them to lay up money 
and live luxuriously, but should have merely a living and garments 
suited to spiritual persons.* 

* Bern. Guidon. Flor. Chron. (Bouquet, XXL 722).— Godefroy de Paris, v. 
6028-9.— Ferreti Vicentin. Hist. (Muratori S. R. I. IX. 1017).— Le Roulx, Docu- 
ments, etc., p. 51. — Havemann, Geschichte des Ausgangs,p. 290. — Fr. Pipini Chron. 
c. 49 (Muratori IX. 750).— Joann. de S. Victor. (Bouquet, XXI. 658). — Vaissette, 


There remained to be disposed of de Molay and the other 
chiefs reserved by Clement for his personal judgment — a reserva- 
tion which, as we have seen, by inspiring them with selfish hopes, 
led them to abandon their brethren. When this purpose had been 
accomplished Clement for a while seemed to forget them in their 
drear captivity. It was not till December 22, 1313, that he ap- 
pointed a commission of three cardinals, Arnaud of S. Sabina, 
Nicholas of S. Eusebio, and Arnaldo of S. Prisca, to investigate the 
proceedings against them and to absolve or condemn, or to inflict 
penance proportionate to their offences, and to assign to them on 
the property of the Order such pensions as were fitting. The cardi- 
nals dallied with their duty until March 19, 1314, when, on a scaffold 
in front of Notre Dame, de Molay, Geoff roi de Charney, Master of 
Normandy, Hugues de Peraud, Visitor of France, and Godefroi de 
Gonneville, Master of Aquitaine, were brought forth from the jail 
in which for nearly seven years they had lain, to receive the sen- 
tence agreed upon by the cardinals, in conjunction with the Arch- 
bishop of Sens and some other prelates whom they had called in. 
Considering the offences which the culprits had confessed and con- 
firmed, the penance imposed was in accordance with rule — that of 
perpetual imprisonment. The affair was supposed to be concluded 
when, to the dismay of the prelates and wonderment of the as- 
sembled crowd, de Molay and Geoff roi de Charney arose. They 
had been guilty, they said, not of the crimes imputed to them, but 
of basely betraying their Order to save their own lives. It was 
pure and holy ; the charges were fictitious and the confessions 
false. Hastily the cardinals delivered them to the Prevot of Paris, 
and retired to deliberate on this unexpected contingency, but they 
were saved all trouble. When the news was carried to Philippe 
he was furious. A short consultation with his council only was 
required. The canons pronounced that a relapsed heretic was to 
be burned without a hearing; the facts were notorious and no 
formal judgment by the papal commission need be waited for. 
That same day, by sunset, a pile was erected on a small island in 
the Seine, the Isle des Juifs, near the palace garden. There de 
Molay and de Charney were slowly burned to death, refusing all 

IV. 141.— Stemler, Contingent zur Geschichte der Templer, pp. 20-1.— Raynouard, 
pp. 213-4, 233-5.— Wilcke, II. 236, 240.— Anton, Versucb, p. 142. 


offers of pardon for retraction, and bearing their torment with a 
composure which won for them the reputation of martyrs among 
the people, who reverently collected their ashes as relics. It re- 
mained for a modern apologist of the Church to declare that their 
intrepid self-sacrifice proved them to be champions of the devil. 
In their death they triumphed over their persecutor and atoned 
for the pusillanimity with which they had abandoned those com- 
mitted to their guidance. Hugues de Peraud and the Master of 
Aquitaine lacked courage to imitate them, accepted their penance, 
and perished miserably in their dungeons. Eaimbaud de Caron, 
the Preceptor of Cyprus, had doubtless been already released by 

The fact that in little more than a month Clement died in tor- 
ment of the loathsome disease known as lupus, and that in eight 
months Philippe, at the early age of forty-six, perished by an acci- 
dent while hunting, necessarily gave rise to the legend that de Mo- 
lay had cited them before the tribunal of God. Such stories were 
rife among the people, whose sense of justice had been scandalized 
by the whole affair. Even in distant Germany Philippe's death 
was spoken of as a retribution for his destruction of the Templars, 
and Clement was described as shedding tears of remorse on his 
death-bed for three great crimes, the poisoning of Henry YI. and 
the ruin of the Templars and Beguines. An Italian contemporary, 
papalist in his leanings, apologizes for introducing a story of a 
wandering outcast Templar carried from Xaples to the presence 
of Clement, bearding him to his face, condemned to the stake, and 
from the flames summoning him and Philippe to the judgment- 
seat of God within the year, which was marvellously fulfilled. 

* Raynald. ami. 1313, No. 39.— Raynouard, pp. 205-10.— Contin. Guill. Nan- 
giac. arm. 1313. — Joaun. de S.Victor. (Bouquet, XXI. 658). — Chron. Ad on. (Bou- 
quet, XXI. 143).— Godefroy de Paris v. 6033-6129.— Villain Chron. vm. 92.— 
Chron. Cornel. Zantfliet ann. 1310 (Martene Ampl. Coll. V. 160). — Trithem. 
Chron. Hirsaug. ann. 1307.— Pauli ^Euiylii de Reb. Gest, Franc. Ed. 1569, p. 421. 
— Van Os, p. 111. 

In his haste Philippe did not stop to inquire as to his rights over the Isle des 
Juifs. It happened that the monks of St. Germain des Pr&s claimed haute et 
basse justice there, and they promptly complained that they were wronged by the 
execution, whereupon Philippe issued letters declaring that it should work no 
prejudice to them (Olim, II. 599). 


These tales show how the popular heart was stirred and how the 
popular sympathies were directed. * 

In fact, outside of France, where, for obvious reasons, contem- 
porary opinion was cautious in expression, the downfall of the 
Templars was very largely attributed to the remorseless cupidity 
of Philippe and Clement. Even in France public sentiment in- 
clined in their favor. Godefroi de Paris evidently goes as far as 
he dares when he says : 

" Dy versement de ce Ten parle, 
Et ou monde en est grant bataille — 
— L'en puet Men decevoir Fyglise 
Mes Ten ne puet en nule guise 
Diex decevoir. Je n'en dis plus : 
Qui voudra dira le seurplus." 

It required courage animated by a lofty sense of duty when, at the 
height of the persecution, the Dominican, Pierre de la Palu, one of 
the foremost theologians of the day, voluntarily appeared before 
the papal commission in Paris to say that he had been present at 
many examinations where some of the accused confessed the 
charges and others denied them, and it appeared to him that the 

* Pauli Langii Chron. Citicens. ann. 1314 (Pistorii I. 1201). — Chron. Sampe- 
trini Erfurtens. ann. 1315 (Menken III. 325). — Naucleri Chron. ann. 1306.— Fer- 
reti Vicentin. Hist. (Muratori S. R. I. IX. 1018). 

Clement's reputation was such that this was not the only legend of the kind 
about his death. While yet Archbishop of Bordeaux, he had a bitter quarrel 
with Walter of Bruges, a holy Franciscan whom Nicholas III. had forced to ac- 
cept the episcopate of Poitiers. On his elevation to the papacy he gratified his 
grudge by deposing Walter and ordering him to a convent. Walter made no com- 
plaint, but on his death-bed he appealed to the judgment of God, and died with 
a paper in his hand in which he cited the papal oppressor before the divine 
tribunal on a certain day. His grip on this could not be loosened, and he was 
buried with it. The next year Clement chanced to pass through the place; he 
had the tomb opened, found the body uncorrupted, and ordered the paper to be 
given to him. It terrified him greatly, and at the time specified he was obliged 
to obey the summons. — Wadding, ann. 1279, No. 13. — Chron. Glassberger ann. 

Guillaume de Nogaret, who was Philippe's principal instrument, was the sub- 
ject of a similar story. A Templar on his way to the stake saw him and cited 
him to appear within eight days, and on the eighth day he died. — Chron. Astens. 
c. 27 (Muratori S. R. I. XL 194). 


denials were worthy of confidence rather than the confessions.* 
As time wore on the conviction as to their innocence strengthened. 
Boccaccio took their side. St. Antonino of Florence, whose histor- 
ical labors largely influenced opinion in the fifteenth century, as- 
serted that their downfall was attributable to the craving for their 
wealth, and popular writers in general adopted the same view. 
Even Kaynaldus hesitates and balances arguments on either side, 
and Campi assures us that in Italy, in the seventeenth century, 
they were regarded by many as saints and martyrs. At length, 
about the middle of the seventeenth century, the learned Du Puy 
undertook to rehabilitate the memory of Philippe le Bel in a work 
of which the array of documentary evidence renders it indispensa- 
ble to the student. Giirtler, who followed him with a history of 
the Templars, is evidently unable to make up his mind. Since then 

* Godefroi de Paris, v. 6131-45. Cf 3876-81, 3951-2.— Proems des Templiers, 
H. 195. 

Some of the contemporaries outside of France who attribute the affair to the 
greed of Philippe and Clement are — Matt. Neoburg. (Albert Argentinens.) Chron. 
ann. 1346 (Urstisii II. 137). — Sachsische Weltchronik, erste bairische Fortsetzung, 
ann. 1312 (Mom Germ. II. 334).— Stalwegii Chron. ann. 1305 (Leibnit. III. 274). 
— Bothonis Chron. ann. 1311 (Leibnit. III. 374). — Chron. Comitum Schawenburg 
(Meibom. I. 499). — Jo. Hocsemii Gest. Episcc. Leodiens. ( 345-6). — 
Chron. Astens. c. 27 (Muratori S. R. I. XL 192-4).— Istorie Pistolesi (lb. XL 518). 
— Villani Chron. vni. 92. 

Authorities who assume the guilt of the Templars are — Ferreti Vicentini 
Hist. (Muratori S. R. I. IX. 1017-18).— Chron. Parmens. ann. 1309 (lb. IX. 880). 
— Albertin. Mussat. Hist. August. Rubr. x. (lb. X. 377). — Chron. Guillel. Scoti 
(Bouquet, XXI. 205).— Hermanni Corneri Chron. ann. 1309 (Eccard. II. 971-2). 
The old German word Tempelhaus, signifying house of prostitution, conveys the 
popular sense of the license of the Order (Trithem. Chron. Hirsaug. ann. 1307). 

Henri Martin assumes that the traditions of the north of France are adverse 
to the Templars, and that those of the south are favorable. He instances a Breton 
ballad in which the "Red Monks," or Templars, are represented as ferocious de- 
bauchees who carry off young women and then destroy them with the fruits of 
guilty intercourse. On the other hand, at Gavarnie (Bigorre), there are seven 
heads which are venerated as those of martyred Templars, and the popular belief 
is that on the night of the anniversary of the abolition of the Order a figure, 
armed cap-a-pie and bearing the white mantle with a red cross, appears in the 
cemetery and thrice cries out, k ' Who will defend the holy temple ; who will liber- 
ate the sepulchre of the Lord ?" when the seven heads answer thrice, " No one, 
no one ! The Temple is destroyed !" — Histoire de France, T. IV. pp. 496-7 
(£d. 1855). 


the question has been argued pro and con with a vehemence which 
promises to leave it one of the unsettled problems of history.* 

Be this as it may, Philippe obtained the object of his desires. 
After 1307 his financial embarrassments visibly decreased. There 
was not only the release from the obligation of the five hundred 
thousand livres which he had borrowed of the Order, but its vast 
accumulations of treasure and of valuables of all kinds fell into 
his hands and were never accounted for. He collected all the 
debts due to it, and his successors were still busy at that work as 
late as 1322. The extensive banking business which the Templars 
had established between the East and the West doubtless rendered 
this feature of the confiscation exceedingly profitable, and it is 
safe to assume that Philippe enforced the rule that debts due by 
convicted heretics were not to be paid. Despite his pretence of 
surrendering the landed estates to the pope, he retained possession 
of them till his death and enjoyed their revenues. Even those in 
Guyenne, belonging to the English crown, he collected in spite of 
the protests of Edward, and he claimed the Templar castles in the 
English territories until Clement prevailed upon him to withdraw. 
The great Paris Temple, half palace, half fortress, one of the ar- 
chitectural wonders of the age, was retained with a grip which 
nothing but death could loosen. After the property had been ad- 
judged to the Hospitallers, in May, 1312, by the Council of Yienne 
with Philippe's concurrence, and he had formally approved of it 
in August, Clement addressed him in December several letters ask- 
ing his assistance in recovering what had been seized by indi- 
viduals — assistance which doubtless was freely promised ; but in 
June, 1313, we find Clement remonstrating with him over his re- 
fusal to permit Albert de Chateauneuf, Grand Preceptor of the 
Hospital, to administer the property either of his own Order or 
that of the Temple in France. In 1314 the General Chapter of 
the Hospital gave unlimited authority to Leonardo and Francesco 
de Tibertis to take possession of all the Temple property promised 
to the Order, and in April an arret of Parlement recites that it 
had been given to the Hospital at Philippe's special request, and 
that he had invested Leonardo de Tibertis with it ; but there was 

* Raynald. aim. 1307, No. 12.— D'Argentre I. i. 281.— Cainpi, Dell' Hist. Ec- 
cles. di Piacenza, P. in. p. 43, Piacenza, 1651,— Feyjoo, Cartas I. xxviii. 


a reservation that it was liable for the expenses of the imprisoned 
Templars and for the costs incurred by the king in pushing the 
trials. This was a claim elastic both in amount and in the time 
required for settlement. Had Philippe's life been prolonged it is 
probable that no settlement would have been made. As it was, 
the Hospitallers at last, in 1317, were glad to close the affair by 
abandoning to Philippe le Long all claim on the income of the 
landed estates which the crown had held for ten years, with an 
arrangement as to the movables which virtually left them in the 
king's hands. They also assumed to pay the expenses of the im- 
prisoned Templars, and this exposed them to every species of ex- 
action and pillage on the part of the royal officials.* 

In fact, it is the general testimony that the Hospitallers were 
rather impoverished than enriched by the splendid gift. There 
had been a universal Saturnalia of plunder. Every one, king, no- 
ble, and prelate, who could lay hands on a part of the defenceless 
possessions had done so, and to reclaim it required large payments 
either to the holder or to his suzerain. In 1286 the Margrave Otto 
of Brandenburg had entered the Order of the Temple and had en- 
riched it with extensive domains. These the Margrave AValdemar 
seized, and did not surrender till 1322, nor was the transfer con- 
firmed till 1350, when the Hospital was obliged to pay five hun- 
dred silver marks. In Bohemia many nobles seized and retained 
Templar property ; the chivalrous King John is said to have kept 
more than twenty castles, and Templars themselves managed to 
hold some and bequeath them to their heirs. Religious orders 
were not behindhand in securing what they could out of the 
spoils — Dominicans, Carthusians, Augustinians, Celestinians, all 
are named as participators. Even the pious Robert of Naples had 
to be reminded by Clement that he had incurred excommunica- 
tion because he had not surrendered the Templar property in Pro- 
vence. In fact, he had secretly sent orders to his seneschal not to 

* Ferreti Vicentini, loc. cit. — "Raynald. arm. 1307, No. 12 — Havemann, p. 334. 
— Wilcke, II. 327, 329-30.— Raynouard, pp. 25-6.— Vaissette, IV. 141.— Du Puy, 
pp. 75, 78, 88, 125-31, 216-17.— Prutz, p. 16.— Oliin, III. 580-2. 

Even as late as 1337, in the accounts of the S£ngchaussee of Toulouse there is 
a place reserved for collections from the Templar property, although the returns 
in that year were nil. — Vaissette, fid. Privat, X. Pr. 785. 

For the banking business of the Templars, see Schottmuller, I. 64. 


deliver it to the Archbishops of Aries and Embrun, the commis- 
sioners appointed by the pope, and before he was finally obliged 
to make it over he realized what he could from it. Perhaps the 
Hospital fared better in Cyprus than elsewhere, for when the 
papal nuncio, Peter, Bishop of Ehodes, published the bull, Novem- 
ber 7, 1313, the Templar possessions seem to have been made over 
to it without contest. In England, even the weakness of Ed- 
ward II. made a feeble attempt to keep the property. Clement 
had ordered him, February 25, 1309, to make it over to the papal 
commissioners designated for the purpose, but he seems to have 
paid no attention to the command. After the Council of Yienne 
we find him, August 12, 1312, expressing to the Prior of the Hos- 
pital his surprise that he is endeavoring under the color of papal 
letters to obtain possession of it, to the manifest prejudice of the 
dignity of the crown. Much of it had been farmed out and alien- 
ated to Edward's worthless favorites, and he resisted its surren- 
der as long as he dared. When forced to succumb he did so in 
a manner as self -abasing as possible, by executing, November 24, 
1313, a notarial instrument to the effect that he protested against 
it, and only yielded out of fear of the dangers to him and his 
kingdom to be apprehended from a refusal. It may be "doubted 
whether his orders were obeyed that it should be burdened with 
the payment of the allowances to the surviving Templars. He 
succeeded, however, in getting a hundred pounds from the Hos- 
pitallers for the London Temple ; and in 1317 John XXII. was 
obliged to intervene with an order for the restitution of lands still 
detained by those who had succeeded in occupying them.* 

* Contin. Guillel. Nangiac. ann. 1312. — Villani Chron. vm. 92. — Matt. Neo- 
burg. (Albertin. Argentin.) Chron. ann. 1346 (Urstisii II. 137).— H. Mutii Chron. 
Lib. xxii. ann. 1311.— Chron. Fr. Pipini c. 49 (Muratori S. R. I. IX. 750).— Have- 
mann,p. 338. — Vertot, II. 154. — Hocsemii Gest. Episcc. Leodiens. (Chapeaville, II. 
346).— Trithem. Chron. Hirsaug. ann. 1307.— Naucleri Chron. ann. 1306.— Raynald. 
ann. 1312, No. 7 ; ami. 1313, No. 18.— Van Os, p. 81.— Wilcke, II. 340-1, 497.— 
Gassari Annal. Augstburg. ann. 1312 (Menken. I. 1473).— Schottmiiller, 1. 496 ; II. 
427-9.-Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. IV. p. 452.— Ryraer, III. 133-4, 292-4, 321, 337, 
404, 409-10, 451-2, 472-3.— Le Roulx, Documents, etc., p. 50. 

We happen to have a slight example of the plunder in an absolution granted 
February 23, 1310, by Clement to Bernard de Bayulli, canon and chancellor of 
the Abbey of Cornelia in Roussillon, for the excommunication incurred by him 
for taking a horse, a mule, and sundry effects, valued in all at sixty livres Tour- 


The Spanish peninsula had been excepted from the operation 
of the bull transferring the property to the Hospital, but subject 
to the further discretion of Clement. As regards the kingdom of 
Majorca he exercised this discretion in 1313 by giving King San- 
cho II. the personal property, and ordering him to make over the 
real estate to the Hospital, under condition that the latter should 
be subject to the duties which had been performed by the Temple. 
Even this did not relieve the Hospitallers from the necessity of 
bargaining with King Sancho. It was not until February, 1314, 
that the lands on the island of Majorca were surrendered to them 
in consideration of an annual payment of eleven thousand sols, and 
an allowance of twenty-two thousand five hundred sols to be made 
on the mesne profits to be accounted for since the donation was 
made. All profits previous to that time were to remain with the 
crown. No documents are extant to show what was done on the 
mainland, but doubtless there was a similar transaction. In addi- 
tion to this the pensions of the Templars assigned on the property 
were a heavy burden for many years.* 

In Aragon there was less disposition to accede to the papal 
washes. Constant struggle with the Saracen had left memories 
of services rendered, or sharpened the sense of benefits to come 
from some new Order devoted wholly to national objects, which 
could not be expected of a body like the Hospitallers, whose pri- 
mary duty was devotion to the Holy Land. The Templars had 
contributed largely to all the enterprises which had enlarged the 
boundaries of the kingdom. They had rendered faithful service 
to the monarchy in the council as well as in the field ; to them 
was in great part attributed the rescue of Jayme I. from the hands 
of de Montfort, and they had been foremost in the glorious cam- 
paigns which had earned for him the title of el Conquistador. 
Pedro III. and Jayme II. had scarce had less reason for gratitude 
to them, and the latter, after sacrificing them, naturally desired to 
use their forfeited property for the establishment of a new Order 
from which he might expect similar advantages, but Clement's en- 
gagements with the Hospitallers were such that he turned a deaf 

nois, from the preceptory of Gardin, in the diocese of Lerida.— Regest. Clement. 
PP. V. T. V. p. 41. 

* Raynald. ann. 1313, No. 37— Allart, loc. cit. pp. 87, 89. 


ear to the king's repeated representations. On the accession of 
John XXII., however, matters assumed a more favorable aspect, 
and in 1317 Yidal de Vilanova, Jayme's envoy, procured from him 
a bull authorizing the formation of the Order of Nuestra Seilora 
de Montesa, affiliated to the Order of Calatrava, from which its 
members were to be drawn. Its duties were denned to be the 
defence of the coasts and frontier of Valencia from corsairs and 
Moors ; the Templar property in Aragon and Catalonia was made 
over to the Hospitallers, while the new Order was to have in Va- 
lencia not only the possessions of the Temple, but all those of the 
Hospital, except in the city of Valencia and for half a league 
around it. In 1319 the preliminaries were accomplished, and 
the new Order was organized with Guillen de Eril as its Grand 

In Castile Alonso XL retained for the crown the greater part 
of the Templar lands, though, along the frontier, nobles and cities 
succeeded in obtaining a portion. Some were given to the Orders 
of Santiago and Calatrava, and the Hospitallers received little. 
After an interval of half a century another effort was made, and 
in 1366 Urban V. ordered the delivery within two months of all 
the Templar property to the Hospitallers, but it is safe to assume 
that the mandate was disregarded, though in 1387 Clement VIL, 
the Avignonese antipope, confirmed some exchanges made of Tem- 
plar property by the Hospitallers with the Orders of Santiago 
and Calatrava. f Castile, as we have already seen, was always sin- 
gularly independent of the papacy. In Portugal, as mentioned 
above, the property was handed over as a whole to the Order of 
Jesus Christ. 

In the Morea, where the Templar possessions were extensive, 
Clement had, as early as November 11, 1310, exercised rights of 
proprietorship by ordering his administrators, the Patriarch of 
Constantinople and the Archbishop of Patras, to lend to Gautier 

* Bofarull y Broca, Hist, de Cataluna, III. 97.— Zurita, Lib. 11. c. 60; Lib. in. 
c. 9; Lib. vi. c. 26. — Mariana, Ed. 1789, V. 290. — La Fuente, Hist. Ecles. II. 
370-1. Ilescas (Hist. Pontifical, Lib. VI. c. 2), in the second half of the sixteenth 
century, remarks that there had been fourteen Masters of Montesa and never one 
married until the present one, D. Cesar de Borja, who is married. 

t Mariana, V. 290. — Garibay, Compendio Historial Lib. xiii. cap. 33. — Zu- 
rita, Lib. vi. c. 26. — Le Roulx, Documents, etc., p. 52. 


de Brienne, Duke of Athens, all the proceeds which they had col- 
lected, and all that they might collect for a year to come.* 

Thus disappeared, virtually without a struggle, an organization 
which was regarded as one of the proudest, wealthiest, and most 
formidable in Europe. It is not too much to say that the very 
idea of its destruction could not have suggested itself, but for the 
facilities which the inquisitorial process placed in able and un- 
scrupulous hands to accomplish any purpose of violence under the 
form of law. If I have dwelt on the tragedy at a length that 
may seem disproportionate, my apology is that it affords so per- 
fect an illustration of the helplessness of the victim, no matter how 
high-placed, when once the fatal charge of heresy was preferred 
against him, and was pressed through the agency of the Inquisi- 

The case of the learned theologian, Jean Petit, Doctor of Sor- 
bonne, is of no great historical importance, but it is worth noting 
as an example of the use made of the charge of heresy as a weapon 
in political warfare, and of the elastic definition by which heresy 
was brought to include offences not easily justiciable in the ordi- 
nary courts. 

Under Charles YI. of France the royal power was reduced to 
a shadow. His frequently recurring fits of insanity rendered him 
incapable of governing, and the quarrels of ambitious princes of 
the blood reduced the kingdom almost to a state of anarchy. Es- 
pecially bitter was the feud between the king's brother, Louis, 
Duke of Orleans, and his cousin, Jean sans Peur of Burgundy. 
Yet even that age of violence was startled when, by the procure- 
ment of Jean sans Peur, the Duke of Orleans, in 1407, was assas- 
sinated in the streets of Paris — a murder which remained un- 
avenged until 1419, when the battle-axe of Tanneguy du Chatel 
balanced the account on the bridge of Montereau. Even Jean 
sans Peur felt the need of some apology for his bloody deed, and 
he sought the assistance of Jean Petit, who read before the royal 
court a thesis — the Justificatio Duels Burgundim — to prove that 
he had acted righteously and patriotically, and that he deserved 

* Regest. Clement. PP. V. T. V. p. 235 (Romas, 1887). 


the thanks of king and people. Written in the conventional scho- 
lastic style, the tract was not a mere political pamphlet, but an ar- 
gument based on premises of general principles. It is a curious 
coincidence that, nearly three centuries earlier, another Johannes 
Parvus, better known as John of Salisbury, the worthiest repre- 
sentative of the highest culture of his day, in a purely specula- 
tive treatise had laid down the doctrine that a tyrant was to be 
put to death without mercy. According to the younger Jean 
Petit, " Any tyrant can and ought properly to be slain by any 
subject or vassal, and by any means, specially by treachery, not- 
withstanding any oath or compact, and without awaiting judicial 
sentence or order." This rather portentous proposition was lim- 
ited by defining the tyrant to be one who is endeavoring through 
cupidity, fraud, sorcery, or evil mind to deprive the king of his au- 
thority, and the subject or vassal is assumed to be one who is in- 
spired by loyalty, and him the king should cherish and reward. 
It was not difficult to find Scriptural warrant for such assertion 
in the slaying of Zimri by Phineas, and of Holofernes by Judith ; 
but Jean Petit ventured on debatable ground when he declared 
that St. Michael, without awaiting the divine command and moved 
only by natural love, slew Satan with eternal death, for which he 
was rewarded with spiritual wealth as great as he was capable of 

That this was not a mere lawyer's pleading is shown by the 
fact that it was written in the vernacular and exposed for sale. 
Doubtless Jean sans Peur circulated it extensively, and it was 
doubtless convincing to those who were already convinced. It 
might safely have been allowed to perish in the limbo of forget- 
fulness, but when, some six years later, the Armagnac faction 
obtained the upper hand, it was exhumed from the dust as a ready 
means of attacking the Burgundians. Jean Petit himself, by op- 
portunely dying some years before, escaped a trial for heresy, but 
in November, 1313, a national council was assembled in Paris 
to consider nine propositions extracted from his work. Gerard, 
Bishop of Paris, and Frere Jean Polet, the inquisitor, summoned 
the masters of theology of the University to give their opinions, 

* Johann. Saresberiens. Polycrat. vm. 17. — D'Argentre I. n. 180-5. — Mon- 
strelet, Chroniques, I. 39, 119. 


which solemnly condemned the propositions. The council debated 
the question with unwearied prolixity through twenty-eight ses- 
sions, and finally, on February 23, 1314, it adopted a sentence con- 
demning the nine propositions to be burned as erroneous in faith 
and morals, and manifestly scandalous. The sentence was duly 
executed two days later on a scaffold in front of Xotre Dame, in 
presence of a vast crowd, to whom the famous doctor, Benoist 
Gencien, elaborately explained the enormity of the heresy. Jean 
sans Peur thereupon appealed to the Holy See from this sentence, 
and John XXIII. appointed a commission of three cardinals — 
Orsini. Aquileia, and Florence — to examine and report. Thus Jean 
Petit had succeeded in becoming a European question, but in spite 
of this a royal ordonnance on March 17 commanded all the bish- 
ops of the kingdom to burn the propositions ; on March 18, the 
University ordered them burned ; on June -1 there was a royal 
mandate to publish the condemnation ; on December 4 the Uni- 
versity came to the royal court and delivered an oration on the 
subject, and on December 27 Charles VI. addressed a royal letter 
to the Council of Constance asking it to join in the condemna- 
tion. Evidently the affair was exploited to the uttermost ; and 
when, on January 4, 1315, the long-delayed obsequies of the Duke 
of Orleans were performed in Xotre Dame, Chancellor Gerson 
preached a sermon before the king and the court, the boldness of 
which excited general comment. The government of the Duke 
of Orleans had been better than any which had succeeded it ; the 
death of the Duke of Burgundy was not counselled, but his humil- 
iation was advocated ; the burning of Petit's propositions was well 
done, but more remained to do, and all this Gerson was ready to 
maintain before all comers.* 

It was in this mood that Gerson went to Constance as head of 
the French nation. In his first address to the council. March 23, 
1415, he urged the condemnation of the nine propositions. The 
trial of John XXIIL, the condemnation of Wickliff and of com- 
munion in both elements, and the discussion over Huss for a while 
monopolized the attention of the council, and no action was taken 

* D'Argentre, I. n. 184-6. — Religieux de S. Denis, Histoire de Charles VI. 
Liv. xxxiii. ch. 28. — Juvenal des Ursins, ann. 1413. — Gersoni Opp. Ed. 1494, I. 
14 B, C— Von der Hardt, T. III. Prolegom. 10-13.— Monstrelet, I. 139. 


until June 15. Meanwhile Gerson found an ally in the Polish 
nation. John of Falckenberg had written a tract applying the 
arguments of Jean Petit to the slaying of Polish princes, of which 
the Archbishop of Gnesen had readily procured the condemnation 
by the University of Paris, and the Polish ambassador joined Ger- 
son in the effort to have both put under the ban. On June 15, 
Andrea Lascaris, Bishop of Posen, proposed that a commission 
be appointed to conduct an inquisition upon new heresies. Jean 
Petit was not alluded to, but it was understood that his proposi- 
tions were aimed at, for the only negative vote was that of Martin, 
Bishop of Arras, the ambassador of Jean sans Peur, who asserted 
that the object of the movement was to assail his master ; and he 
further protested against Cardinal Peter d'Ailly, who was put on 
the commission with Orsini, Aquileia, and Florence, as well as two 
representatives of the Italian nation and four each of the French, 
English, and German. On July 6, after rendering judgment 
against Huss, the council condemned as heretical and scandalous 
the proposition Quilibet tyrannies, which was virtually the first 
of the nine condemned in Paris. This did not satisfy the French, 
who wanted the judgment of the University confirmed on the 
whole series. During the two years and a half that the council 
remained assembled, Gerson was unwearied in his efforts to accom- 
plish this object. These heresies he declared to be of more impor- 
tance than those of Huss and Jerome, and bitterly he scolded the 
fathers for leaving the good work unfinished. Interminable was 
the wrangling and disputation, appeals from Charles VI. and the 
University on the one side, and from the Duke of Burgundy on 
the other. John of Falckenberg was thrown into prison, but noth- 
ing would induce the council to take further action, and the affair 
at last died out. It is difficult for us at the present day to under- 
stand the magnitude which it assumed in the eyes of that genera- 
tion. Gerson subsequently felt himself obliged to meet the jeers 
of those who reproached him with having risked a question of 
such importance before such a body as the council, and he justi- 
fied himself by alleging that he had acted under instructions from 
the king and the University, and the Gallican Church as repre- 
sented in the province of Sens. Moreover, he argued, when the 
council had manifested such zeal in condemning the Wickliffite 
doctrines and in burning Huss and Jerome, he would have been 
III.— 22 


rash and unjust to suppose that it would not have been equally 
earnest in repressing the yet more pernicious heresies of Jean 
Petit. To us the result of greatest interest was its influence on 
the fate of Gerson himself. On the dissolution of the council he 
was afraid to risk the enmity of the Duke of Burgundy by return- 
ing to France, and gladly accepted a refuge offered him in Austria 
by Duke Ernest, which he repaid in a grateful poem. He never 
ventured nearer home than Lyons, where his brother was friar of 
a convent of Celestinian hermits, and where he supported himself 
by teaching school till his death, July 14, 1429.* 

Criticism would doubtless ere this have demonstrated the me- 
teoric career of Joan of Arc to be a myth, but for the concurrent 
testimony of friend and foe and the documentary evidence, which 
enable us with reasonable certainty to separate its marvellous 
vicissitudes from the legendary details with which they have been 
obscured. For us her story has a special interest, as affording an- 
other illustration of the ease w T ith which the inquisitorial process 
was employed for political ends. 

In 1429 the French monarchy seemed doomed beyond hope of 
resuscitation. In the fierce dissensions which marked the reign 
of the insane Charles VI. a generation had grown up in whom 
adherence to faction had replaced fidelity to the throne or to the 
nation ; the loyalists were known not as partisans of Charles VIL, 
but as Armagnacs, and the Burgundians welcomed the foreign 
domination of England as preferable to that of their hereditary 
sovereign. Paris, in spite of the fearful privations and losses en- 
tailed by the war, submitted cheerfully to the English through 
the love it bore to their ally, the Duke of Burgundy. Joan of Arc 
said that, in her native village, Domremy on the Lorraine border, 
there was but one Burgundian, and his head she wished were cut 
off ; but Domremy and Yaucouleurs constituted the only Armagnac 
spot in northeastern France, and its boys used to have frequent 
fights with the Burgundian boys of Marey, from which they 

* Von derHardt, IH. Proleg. 13; IV. 335-6, 440, 451, 718-22, 724-8, 1087-88, 
1092, 1192, 1513, 1531-2— D'Argentre, I. n. 187-92.— Gersoni Opp. III. 56 Q-S, 
57 B. 


would be brought home wounded and bleeding. Such was the all- 
pervading bitterness of discord throughout the kingdom.* 

Even the death of the brilliant Henry V.., in 1423, had seemed 

to check in no degree the progress of the English arms. Under 

the able regency of his brother, the Duke of Bedford, seconded by 

such captains as Salisbury, Talbot, Scales, and Fastolf, the infant 

Henry VI. appeared destined to succeed to the throne of his 

grandfather, Charles VI., as provided in the treaty of Troves. In 

1424 the victory of Verneuil repeated the triumph of Agincourt. 

From Dauphine alone three hundred knights were left upon the 

field, and but for the fidelity of the provinces won by the Albi- 

gensian crusades, Charles VII. would already have been a king 

without a kingdom. Driven beyond the Loire, he was known by 

the nickname of the Eoi de Bourges. Vacillating and irresolute, 

dominated by unworthy favorites, he hardly knew whether to 

retreat farther to the south and make a final stand among the 

mountains of Dauphine, or to seek a refuge in Spain or Scotland. 

In 1428 his last line of defence on the Loire was threatened by 

the leaguer of Orleans. He was powerless to raise the siege, and 

for five months the heroic city resisted till, reduced to despair, it 

sent the renowned knight, Pothon de Xaintrailles to the Duke of 

Burgundy to ask him to accept its allegiance. The duke was 

nothing loath, but the acquisition required the assent of his English 

ally, and Bedford scornfully refused — he would not, he said, beat 

the bush for another to win the bird. Two months more of weary 

siege elapsed: as the spring of 1429 opened, further resistance 

seemed useless, and for Charles there appeared nothing left but 

ignominious retreat and eventual exile.f 

Such Avas the hopeless condition of the French monarchy when 
the enthusiasm of Joan of Arc introduced a new factor in the 
tangled problem, kindling anew the courage which had been ex- 
tinguished by an unbroken series of defeats, arousing the sense of 

* Journal cTun Bourgeois de Paris arm. 1431. — Epist. de Bonlavillar (Pez, 
Thesaur. Anecd. VI. in. 237). — Proces de Jeanne d'Arc, p. 474. (When not other- 
wise defined, my references to this and other documents concerning Joan are to 
the collection in Bnchon's Choixde Chroniques et Memoires, Paris, 1838.) 

t Thomassin,Registre Delphinal (Buchon, p. 536, 540). — Gorres,Vie de Jeanne 
d'Arc, Trad. Bor6, Paris, 1886, p. 108. — Chronique de la Pucello (Buchon, p. 


loyalty which had been lost in faction, bringing religion as a stim- 
ulus to patriotism, and replacing despair with eager confidence and 
hopefulness. It has been given to few in the world's history thus 
to influence the destiny of a nation, and perhaps to none so obscure 
and apparently so unfitted.* 

Born January 6, 1484, in the little hamlet of Domremy, on the 
border line of Lorraine, she had but completed her seventeenth 
vear when she confidentlv assumed the function of the saviour of 
her native land.f Her parents, honest peasants, had given her 
such training as comported with her station ; she could, of course, 
neither read nor write, but she could recite her Pater Xoster, Ave 
Maria, and Credo ; she had herded the kine, and was a notable 
sempstress — on her trial she boasted that no maid or matron of 
Rouen could teach her anything with the needle. Thanks to her 
rustic employment she was tall and strong-limbed, active and en- 
during. It was said of her that she could pass six days and nights 
without taking off her harness, and marvellous stories were told 
of her abstinence from food while undergoing the most exhausting 
labor in battle and assault. Thus a strong physical constitution 
was dominated bv a still stronger and excitable nervous organiza- 
tion. Her resolute self-reliance was shown when she was sought 
in marriage by an honest citizen of Toul, whose suit her parents 
favored. Finding her obdurate, he had recourse, it would seem 
with her parents' consent, to the law, and cited her before the 
Official of Toul to fulfil the marriage promise which he alleged 
she had made to him. Not withstanding her youth, Joan appeared 
undaunted before the court, swore that she had given no pledges, 
and was released from the too-ardent suitor. At the age of thir- 
teen she commenced to have ecstasies and visions. The Archang-el 
■ ° 

Michael appeared to her first, and he was followed by St. Catha- 
rine and St. Margaret, whom God had specially commissioned to 
watch over and guide her. Even the Archangel Gabriel sonie- 

* Though the name Joan of Arc has been naturalized in English, Jeanne's 
patronymic was Dare, not D'Arc. — Vallet de Viriville, Charles du Lis, pp. xii.- 
xiii. * 

t So close to the border was Joan's birthplace that a new delimitation of the 
frontier, made in 1571, transferred to Lorraine the group of houses including the 
Dare cottage, and left a neighboring group in Fiance. — Yallet de Viriville, ubi 
sup. pp. 24-5. 


times came to counsel her, and she felt herself the instrument of 
the divine will, transmuting by a subtle psychical alchemy her 
own impulses into commands from on high. At length she could 
summon her heavenly advisers at will and obtain from them in- 
structions in any doubtful emergencyo In her trial great stress 
was laid upon an ancient beech-tree, near Domremy, known as the 
Ladies' Tree, or Fairies' Tree, from near the roots of which gushed 
forth a spring of miraculous healing virtue. A survival of tree 
and fountain worship was preserved in the annual dances and 
songs of the young girls of the village around the tree, and the 
garlands which they hung upon its boughs, but Joan, although 
she joined her comrades in these observances, usually reserved her 
garlands to decorate the shrine of the Virgin in the church hard 
by. Extreme religious sensibility was inseparable from such a 
character as hers, and almost at the first apparition of her celestial 
visitants she made a vow of virginity. She believed herself con- 
secrated and set apart for some high and holy purpose, to which 
all earthly ties must be subordinate. When she related to her 
judges that her parents were almost crazed at her departure, she 
added that if she had had a hundred fathers and mothers she 
would have abandoned them to fulfil her mission. To this self- 
concentration, reflected in her bearing, is probably to be attrib- 
uted the remark of several of her chroniclers, that no man could 
look upon her with a lascivious eye.* 

At first her heavenly guides merely told her to conduct herself 
well and to frequent the church, but as she grew to understand 
the desperate condition of the monarchy and to share the fierce 
passions of the time, it was natural that these purely moral in- 
structions should change into commands to bear from God the 
message of deliverance to the despairing people. In her ecstasies 
she felt herself to be the chosen instrument, and at length her 
Voices, as she habitually called them, urged her several times a 
week to hasten to France and to raise the siege of Orleans. To 
her parents she feared to reveal her mission ; some unguarded 
revelation they must have had, for, two years before her departure, 

• Proces, pp. 469, 470, 471, 473, 475, 476, 477, 483, 485, 487, 499.^Chron. de la 
Pucelle, ann. 1429, pp. 428, 435-6, 443.— L'Averdy (Academie des Inscriptions, 
Notices des MSS. III. 373). 


her father, Jacques Dare, had dreams of her going off with the sol- 
diers, and he told her brothers that if he thought that his dreams 
would come true he wished they would drown her, or he would do 
it himself. Thenceforth she was closely watched, but the urgency 
of her celestial counsellors grew into reproaches for her tardiness, 
and further delay was unendurable. Obtaining permission to visit 
her uncle, Denis Laxart, she persuaded him to communicate her 
secret to Eobert de Baudricourt, who held for the king the neigh- 
boring castle of Vaucouleurs. Her Voices had predicted that she 
would be twice repulsed and would succeed the third time. It so 
turned out. The good knight, who at first contemptuously ad- 
vised her uncle to box her ears, at length was persuaded to ask 
the king's permission to send the girl to him. She must have ac- 
quired a reputation of inspiration, for while awaiting the response 
the Duke of Lorraine, who was sick, sent for her and she told him 
that if he wished a cure he must first reconcile himself with his 
wife. On the royal permission being accorded, de Baudricourt 
gave to her a man's dress and a sword, with a slender escort of a 
knight and four men, and washed his hands of the affair.* 

The little party started, February 13, 1429, on their perilous 
ride of a hundred and fifty leagues, in the depth of winter, through 
the enemy's country. That they should accomplish it without 
misadventure in eleven days was in itself regarded as a miracle, 
and as manifesting the favor of God. On February 21 they 
reached Chinon, where Charles held his court, only to encounter 
new obstacles. It is true that some persons of sense, as we are 
told, recognized in her the fulfilment of Merlin's prophecy, " Des- 
cendet virgo dorsum sagittarii etflores virgineos obscurabit /" others 
found her foretold by the Sibyl and by the Venerable Bede ; others 
asked her whether there was not in her land a forest known as the 
Bois Chenu, for there was an ancient prediction that from the 
Bois Chenu there would come a wonder-working maiden — and 
they were delighted on learning that it lay but a league from her 
fathers house. Those, however, who relied on worldly wisdom 
shook their heads and pronounced her mission an absurdity — in 
fact, it was charitable to regard her as insane. It shows, indeed, 
to what depth of despair the royal cause had fallen, that her pre- 

* Proems, pp. 471, 485. — Chronique, p. 454. — L'Averdy (ubi sup. III. 301). 


tensions were regarded as of sufficient importance to warrant in- 
vestigation. Long were the debates. Prelates and doctors of 
theology, jurists and statesmen examined her for a month, and 
one by one they were won over by her simple earnestness, her evi- 
dent conviction, and the intelligence of her replies. This was not 
enough, however. In Poitiers sat Charles's Parlement and a Uni- 
versity composed of such schoolmen as had abandoned the angli- 
cized University of Paris. Thither was Joan sent, and for three 
weeks more she was tormented with an endless repetition of ques- 
tioning. Meanwhile her antecedents were carefully investigated, 
with a result in every way confirming her good repute and truth- 
fulness. Charles was advised to ask of her a sign by which to 
prove that she came from God, but this she refused, saying that 
it was the divine command that she should give it before Orleans, 
and nowhere else. Finally, the official conclusion, cautiously ex- 
pressed, was that in view of her honest life and conversation, and 
her promising a sign before Orleans, the king should not prevent 
her from going there, but should convey her there in safety ; for to 
reject her without the appearance of evil would be to rebuff the 
Holy Ghost, and to render himself unworthy the grace and aid of 

* Proems, pp. 471, 475, 478, 482, 485.— Chronique, pp. 428, 454— Gorres, pp. 
37-9. — Thomassin, pp. 537, 538. — Christine de Pisan (Buchon, p. 541). — Mons- 
trelet, Liv. n. ch. 57. — Dynteri Chron. Due. Brabant. Lib vi. eh. 234. 

Much has been recorded in the chronicles about the miracles with which she 
convinced Charles's doubts — how she recognized him at first sight, although 
plainly clad amid a crowd of resplendent courtiers, and how she revealed to him 
a secret known only to God and himself, of prayers and requests made to God 
in his oratory at Loches (Chronique, pp. 429, 455 ; Jean Chartier, Hist, de 
Charles VII. Ed. Godefroy, p. 19; Gorres, pp. 105-9). Possibly some chance ex- 
pression of hers may have caught his wandering and uncertain thoughts and 
made an impression upon him, but the legend of the Pucelle grew so rapidly 
that miracles were inevitably introduced into it at every stage. Joan herself on 
her trial declared that Charles and several of his councillors, including the Due 
de Bourbon, saw her guardian saints and heard their voices, and that the king 
had notable revelations (Proces, p. 472). She also told her judges that there 
had been a material sign, which under their skilful cross-examination developed, 
from a secret revealed to him alone (p. 477), into the extraordinary story that 
St. Michael, accompanied by Catharine and Margaret and numerous angels, came 
to her lodgings and went with her to the royal palace, up the stairs and through 
the doors, and gave to the Archbishop of Reims, who handed it to the king, a 


Two months had been wasted in these preliminaries, and it was 
the end of April before the determination was reached. A convoy 
was in preparation to throw provisions into the town, and it was 
resolved that Joan should accompany it. Under instructions from 
her Voices she had a standard prepared, representing on a white 
field Christ holding the world, with an angel on each side — a 
standard which was ever in the front of battle, which was re- 
garded as the surest guarantee of success, and which in the end 
was gravely investigated as a work of sorcery. She had assigned 
to her a troop or guard, but does not seem to have been intrusted 
with anv command, vet she assumed that she was taking the field 
as the representative of God, and must first give the enemy due 
notice of defiance. Accordingly, on April 18, she addressed four 
letters, one to Henry VI. and the others to the Regent Bedford, 
the captains before Orleans, and the English soldiers there, in 
which she demanded the surrender of the keys of all the cities 
held in France ; she announced herself ready to make peace if 
they will abandon the land and make compensation for the dam- 
ages inflicted, otherwise she is commissioned by God, and will 
drive them out with a shock of arms such as had not been seen in 
France for a thousand years. It is scarce to be wondered that 
these uncourtly epistles excited no little astonishment in the 
English camp. Rumors of her coming had spread ; she was de- 
nounced as a sorceress, and all who placed faith in her as heretics. 
Talbot declared that he would burn her if she was captured, and 

golden crown, too rich for description, such as no goldsmith on earth could 
make, telling him at the same time that with the aid of God and her champion- 
ship he would recover all France, but that unless he set her to work his corona- 
tion would be delayed. This she averred had been seen and heard by the Arch- 
bishop of Reims and many bishops, Charles de Bourbon, the Due d' Alencon, 
La Tremouille, and three hundred others, and thus she had been relieved from 
the annoying examinations of the clerks. "When asked whether she would refer 
to the archbishop to vouch for the story, she replied, "Let him come here and 
let me speak with him ; he will not dare to tell me the contrary of what I have 
told you " — which was a very safe offer, seeing that the trial was in Rouen, and 
the archbishop was the Chancellor of France (Proems, pp. 482-6, 495, 502). His 
testimony, however, could it have been had, would not probably have been ad- 
vantageous to her, as he belonged to the party of La Tremouille, the favorite, 
who was persistently hostile to her. 


the heralds who brought her letters were only saved from a simi- 
lar fate by a determined threat of reprisals on the part of Dunois, 
then in command at Orleans.* 

Some ten days later the convoy started under command of Gilles 
de Kais and the Marechal de Sainte-Severe. Joan had promised 
that it should meet with no opposition, and faith in her was greatly 
enhanced when her words proved true. Although it passed within 
one or two bow-shots of the English siege-works, and though there 
was considerable delay in ferrying the cattle and provisions across 
the Loire into the city, not an attempt at interference was made. 
The same occurred with a second convoy which reached Orleans 
May 4, to the surprise of the French and the disgust of the Paris- 
ians, who watched the affair from a distance, and were unable to 
understand the paralysis which seemed to have fallen on the Eng- 
lish arms. Joan had impatiently awaited these last reinforce- 
ments, and urged immediate offensive measures against the be- 
siegers. Without consulting her, on the same day an assault was 
made on one of the English works on the other side of the Loire. 
Her legend relates that she started up from slumber exclaiming 
that her people were being slaughtered, and, scarcely waiting for 
her armor to be adjusted, sprang on her horse and galloped to the 
gate leading to the scene of action. The attack had miscarried, 
but after her arrival on the scene not an Englishman could wound 
a Frenchman, and the bastille was carried. Hot fighting occurred 
on the following days. On the 6th she was wounded in the foot 
by a caltrop, and on the 7th in the shoulder by an arrow, but in 
spite of desperate resistance all the English works on the farther 
bank of the Loire were taken, and their garrisons slain or captured. 
The English loss was estimated at from six thousand to eight 
thousand men, while that of the French was not over one hun- 
dred. On the 8th the English abandoned the siege, marching off 
in such haste that they left behind them their sick and wounded, 
their artillery and magazines. The French, flushed with victory, 
were eager to attack them, but Joan forbade it — " Let them go ; 

# Monstrelet, II. 57. — Proces, p. 478. — Thomassin, p. 538. — Chronique, pp. 

Joan's letters, when produced on her trial, were falsified — at least according 
to her statement. — Le Brun de Charmettes, Histoire de Jeanne d'Arc, III. 348. 


it is not the will of Messire that they should be fought to-day ; 
you will have them another time " — and by this time her moral 
ascendency was such that she was obeyed. So marvellous was 
the change in the spirit of the opposing forces, that it was a com- 
mon remark that before her coming two hundred English would 
rout five hundred Frenchmen, but that afterwards two hundred 
French would chase four hundred English. Even the unfriendly 
Monstrelet admits that after the raising of the siege of Orleans 
there was no captain who so filled the mouths of men as she, 
though she was accompanied by knights so renowned as Dunois, 
La Hire, and Pothon de Xaintrailles. The Eegent Bedford, in 
writing to the English council, could only describe it as a terrible 
blow from the divine hand, especially " caused of unleyefulle doubte 
that thei hadde of a Desciple and Lyme of the Feende called the 
Pucelle that used fals Enchauntements and Sorcerie." Xot only, 
he says, were the English forces diminished in number and broken 
in spirit, but the enemy was encouraged to make great levies of 

In the chronic exhaustion of the royal treasury it was not easy 
for Charles to take full advantage of this unexpected success, but 
the spirit of the nation was aroused and a force could be kept spas- 
modically in the field. D' Alencon was sent with troops to clear 
the Loire valley of the enemy, and took Joan with him. Suffolk 
had fortified himself in Jargeau, but the place was carried by as- 
sault and he was captured with all his men who were not slain. 
Then want of money caused a return to Tours, where Joan ear- 
nestly urged Charles to go to Eeims for his coronation : she had 
always claimed that her mission was to deliver Orleans and to 
crown the king ; that her time was short and that the counsel of 
her Yoices must not be disregarded, but prudence prevailed, and it 
was felt that the English power in the central provinces must first 
be crushed. A second expedition was organized. Beaugency was 
besieged and taken, and on June 18 the battle of Pat ay gave some 
slight amends for Agincourt and Yerneuil. After feeble resistance 
the English fled. Twenty five hundred of them were left upon the 

* Monstrelet, H. 57-61. — Thomassin, p. 538. — Chrouique. pp. 430-7.— Jean 
Chartier, pp. 22-4. — Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris, ann. 1429. — Rymer, X. 


field, and large numbers were captured, including Talbot, Scales, 
and others of note. Thus in little more than six weeks all the 
leading English captains were slain or in captivity, except Fastolf, 
whose flight from Patay Bedford avenged by tearing from him 
the Order of the Garter. Their troops were dispersed and dis- 
pirited, their prestige was gone. It was no wonder that in all 
this one side recognized the hand of God and the other that of the 
devil. Even the Norman chronicler, P. Cochon, says that the Eng- 
lish would have abandoned France if the regent would have allowed 
it, and that they were so dispirited that one Frenchman would chase 
three of them.* 

A letter written from the court of Charles VII. to the Duke 
of Milan three days after the triumph of Patay, recounting the 
marvels of the previous weeks, shows how Joan was regarded and 
how rapidly her legend was growing. At her birth the villagers 
of Domrem}^ were joyously excited, they knew not why, and the 
cocks for two hours flapped their wings and uttered a song wholly 
different from their ordinary crowing. Her visions were described 
in the most exaggerated terms, as well as her personal prowess and 
endurance. The relief of Orleans, the capture of Jargeau, Mehun- 
sur-Loire, and Beaugency, and the crowning mercy of Patay were 
all attributed to her : hers was the initiative, the leadership, and 
the success ; no one else is alluded to. We are told, moreover, that 
she was already predicting the deliverance of Charles of Orleans, 
a prisoner in England for fifteen years, and had sent a notice to 
the English to surrender him.f 

It could no longer be doubted that Joan was under the direct 
inspiration of God, and when at Gien, on June 25, there was a con- 
sultation as to the next movement, though Charles's councillors ad 
vised him to reduce La Charite and clear the Orleannais and Berri 
of the enemy, it is no wonder that he yielded to Joan's urgency 
and gave his assent to a march to Keims. The enterprise seemed 
a desperate one, for it lay through a hostile country with strong 
cities along the road, and the royal resources were inadequate to 
equipping and provisioning an army or providing it with siege- 

* Chronique, pp. 438-41.— Jean Cliartier, pp. 26-7.— Chron. de P. Cochon 
(Ed. Vallet de Viriville, p. 456). 

t Epist. P. de Bonlavillar (Pez, Thes. Anecd. VI. in. 237). 


trains. But enthusiasm was rising to fever heat, and human pru- 
dence was distrust of God. Volunteers came pouring in as soon 
as the king's intentions were noised abroad, and gentlemen too 
poor to arm and mount themselves were content to serve as simple 
archers and retainers. La Tremouille, the royal favorite, thinking 
his own position endangered, caused the services of multitudes to 
be rejected, but for which, it was said, an army sufficient to drive 
the English from France could readily have been collected. On 
went the ill-conditioned forces. Auxerre, though not garrisoned, 
refused to open its gates, but gave some provisions, and in spite 
of Joan's desire to take it by assault the king went forward, in- 
duced, it was said, by La Tremouille, who had received from the 
town a bribe of two thousand livres. At Troves there was a strong 
English and Burgundian garrison ; it could not be left behind, and 
the army encamped before it for five or six days, with no artillery 
to breach its walls. There was neither money nor victual, and the 
only subsistence was ears of corn and beans plucked in the fields. 
The situation was discouraging, and a council of war under the 
impulse of the Chancellor Renaud de Chartres, Archbishop of 
Reims, advised retreat. Joan was sent for and declared that 
within two days the town would surrender. She was given the 
time she asked, and at once proceeded to gather material to fill 
the trenches, and to mount some small culverins. A panic seized 
the inhabitants and they demanded to surrender; the garrison 
was allowed to march out, and the city returned to its allegiance. f 
When Joan entered the town she was met by a Frere Richard, 
whom the people had sent to examine her and report what she 
was. The worthy friar, doubtful whether she was of heaven or 
hell, approached her cautiously, sprinkling holy water and making 
the sign of the cross, till she smiled and told him to come boldly 
on, as she was not going to fly away. This Frere Richard was a 
noted Franciscan preacher who had recently returned from a pil- 
grimage to Jerusalem, and in April had made the deepest impres- 
sion on Paris with his eloquence. From April 16th to the 26th he 
had preached dahV to audiences of five and six thousand souls, and 
had excited such a tempest of emotion that on one day a hundred 

* Chronique, pp. 442-5.— Jean Chartier, pp. 29-31.— Jacques le Bouvier 
(Godefroy, p. 378). 


bonfires were built in the streets into which men threw their cards 
and dice and tables, and women their ornaments and frippery. 
Over this man Joan obtained so complete a mastery that he de- 
voted himself to her and followed her in her campaigns, using his 
eloquence to convert the people, not from their sins, but from their 
disloyalty to Charles. When the good Parisians heard of this 
they resumed their cards and dice to spite him. Even a tin medal 
with the name of Jesus which he had given them to wear was 
cast aside for the red cross of Burgundy. In the passion of the 
hour on both sides religion was but the handmaid of partisan- 

After this the march to Reims was a triumphant progress. 
Chalons-sur-Marne sent half a day's journey in advance to sub- 
mit and took the oath of allegiance. At Septsaux the garrison 
fled and the people welcomed their king, while the Dukes of Lor- 
raine and Bar came to join him with a heavy force. Reims was 
held for Burgundy by the Seigneur de Saveuse, one of the doughti- 
est warriors of the day, but the citizens were so frightened by 
the coming of the Pucelle, whose reported wonders had impressed 
their imaginations, that they declared for Charles, and Saveuse 
was obliged to fly. Charles entered the town on July 16, and 
was joyfully received. The next day, Sunday, July 17, he was 
crowned King of France. During the ceremony Joan stood by 
the altar with the standard : her judges on her trial seemed to 
imagine that she held it there for some occult influence which it 
was supposed to exercise, and inquired curiously as to her motive ; 
when she answered simply, " It had been in the strife, it had a right 
to be in the honor." f 

Joan might well claim that her mission was accomplished. 
In little more than three months she had made the intending fugi- 
tive of Chinon a conquering king, to whom his flatterers gave 
the title of the Victorious. A few months more of such success 
would establish him firmly on the throne of a reunited France, and 
no one could doubt that success would grow more rapid if only 
with its own momentum. Negotiations were on foot with the 
Duke of Burgundy, which were expected to result in detaching 

* Proems, p. 479.— Journal cTun Bourgeois de Paris, an 1429, 1431. 

t Chronique, p. 446.— Monstrelet, II. 64.— Buchon, p. 524.— Proces, p. 494. 


him from the English cause. Joan had written to him some weeks 
earlier asking him to be present at the coronation, and on the day 
of the ceremony she addressed him another letter, summoning and 
entreating him to return to his allegiance. In a few days Beau- 
vais, Senlis, Laon, Soissons, Chateau-Thierry, Provins, Compiegne, 
and other places acknowledged Charles as king and received his 
garrisons. There was universal exultation and a contagious de- 
lirium of returning loyalty. As he marched the peasantry would 
gather with tears in their eyes to bless him, and thank God that 
peace was at hand. All men admitted that this was Joan's work. 
Christine de Pisan, in a poem written about this time, compares 
her to Esther, Judith, Deborah, Gideon, and Joshua, and even 
Moses is not her superior. A litany of the period contains a pray- 
er recognizing that God had delivered France by her hand. A 
Burgundian chronicler tells us that the belief was general among 
the French soldierv that she was an envov of God who could ex- 
pel the English ; even after the enthusiasm of the time had passed 
away Thomassin, who wrote officially in a work addressed to Louis 
XL, does not hesitate to say that of all the signs of love manifested 
by God to France, there has not been one so great or so marvellous 
as this Pucelle — to her was due the restoration of the kingdom, 
which was so low that it would have reached its end but for her 
coming. That she was regarded as an oracle of God on other sub- 
jects is seen in the application to her by the Comte d'Armagnac 
to tell him which of the three popes to believe in ; and her accept- 
ance of the position is shown by her answer, that when she is re- 
lieved from the pressure of the war she will resolve his doubts by 
the counsel of the King of all the world. If on the one hand her 
dizzy elevation turned her head to the extent of addressing threat- 
ening letters to the Hussites, on the other she never lost her kindly 
sympathy with the poor and humble ; she protected them as far as 
she could from the horrors of war, comforted and supported them, 
and their grateful veneration shown in kissing her hands and feet 
and garments was made a crime to her by her pitiless judges.* 

* Buchou, pp. 539, 545. — Bernier. Monuments in6dits de France, Senlis. 1833, 
p. 18. — Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris, an 1429. — Chronique, pp. 446-7. — 
M6moires de Saint-Rerny, ch. 152. — Thomassin, p. 540. — Nider Formicar. v. 
viii. — Proces, p. 479. 

Christine de Pisan says of her : 


With all this it does not seem that Joan had any definite rank 
or command in the royal armies. Christine de Pisan, it is true, 
speaks of her as being the recognized chief — 

" Et de nos gens preux et habiles 
Est principale chevetaine" — 

but it does not appear that her position had any other warrant 
than the moral influence which her prodigious exploits and the 
belief in her divine mission afforded. Charles's gratitude gave 
her a handsome establishment. She was magnificently attired, 
noble damsels were assigned to her service, with a maitre d'hotel, 
pages, and valets ; she had five war-horses, with seven or more 
roadsters, and at the time of her capture she had in her hands 
ten or twelve thousand francs, which, as she told her judges, was 
little enough to carry on war with. Shortly after his coronation, 
Charles, at her request, granted to Domremy and Greux the privi- 
lege of exemption from all taxes, a favor which was respected until 
the Revolution ; and in December, 1429, he spontaneously ennobled 
her family and all their posterity, giving them as arms on a field 
azure two fleurs-de-lis or, traversed by a sword, and authorizing 
them to bear the name of Du Lis — in all a slender return for the 
priceless service rendered, and affording to her judges another 
count in the indictment on her trial.* ' 

" Que peut-il cVautre estre dit plus II tira sans estre lassez 

Ne des grands faits du temps passe" : Le peuple Israel hors d'Egypte; 
Moyses en qui Dieu am 1 us Par miracle ainsi repassez 

Mit graces et vertus assez; Nous as de mal, pucelle eslite." 

Buchon, p. 542. 

The question which troubled Armagnac was a last struggle of the Great 
Schism. Benedict XIIL, who had never submitted to the Council of Constance, 
died in 1424, when his cardinals quarrelled and elected two successors to his 
shadowy papacy — Clement VIII. and Benedict XIV. In 1429, the Council of 
Tortosa suppressed them both, but at the moment it was a subject on which 
Armagnac might imagine that heavenly guidance was desirable. 

* G6rres,pp. 241-2, 273.— Proces, p. 482.— Buchon, pp. 513-4.— Dynteri Chron. 
Due. Brabant. Lib. vi. ch. 235. 

In the register of taxes every year was written opposite the names of Dom- 
remy and Greux, " Neant, la Pucelle.''' 1 The grant of nobility to her family had 
the very unusual clause that it passed by the female as well as the male descend- 
ants, who were thus all exempt from taxation. As matrimonial alliances ex- 
tended among the rich bourgeoisie this exemption spread so far that in 1614 the 


All Europe was aroused with so portentous an apparition. It 
was not only statesmen and warriors that watched with astonish- 
ment the strange vicissitudes of the contest, but learned men and 
theologians were divided in opinion as to whether she was under 
the influence of heavenly or of infernal spirits, and were every- 
where disputing and writing tracts to uphold the one opinion or 
the other. In England, of course, there was no dissent from the 
popular belief which Shakespeare puts in the mouth of Talbot — 

" A witch by fear, not force, like Hannibal, 
Drives back our troops and conquers as she lists." 

So general, indeed, was the terror that she excited that when, in 
May, 1430, it was proposed to send Henry VI. to Paris for corona- 
tion, both captains and soldiers in the levies appointed for his 
escort deserted and lay in hiding ; and when, in December, after 
Joan lay a prisoner in Rouen Castle and the voyage was performed, 
the same trouble was experienced, requiring another proclama- 
tion to the sheriffs for the arrest of those who were daily desert- 
ing, to the great peril of the royal person and of the kingdom of 
France. Elsewhere the matter was not thus taken for granted, 
and was elaborately argued with all the resources of scholastic 
logic. Some tracts of this character attributed to Gerson have 
been preserved, and exhibit to us the nature of the doubts which 
suggested themselves to the learned of the time — whether Joan is 
a woman or a phantasm ; whether her acts are to be considered 
as divine or phitonic and illusory ; whether, if they are the result 
of supernatural causes, they come from good or evil spirits. To 
Joan's defenders the main difficulty was her wearing male attire 
and cutting her hair short — an offence which in the end proved to 
be the most tangible one to justify her condemnation. Even her 
advocates in the schools felt that in this the case was weak. It had 
to be admitted that the Old Law prohibits a woman from wearing 
man's garments, but this, it was argued, was purely juridical, and 
was not binding under the Xew Law ; it had merely a moral 
object, to prevent indecency, and the circumstances and objects 
were to be considered, so that the law could not be held to pro- 
hibit manly and military vesture to Joan, who was both manly and 

financial results caused its limitation to the male lines for the future (Vallet de 
Yiriville, Charles du Lis, pp. 24, 88). 


military. The cutting of her hair, prohibited by the Apostle, was 
justified in the same manner.* 

For a few weeks after the coronation Joan was at the culmina- 
tion of her career. An uninterrupted tide of success had demon- 
strated the reality of her divine mission. She had saved the 
monarchy, and no one could doubt that the invader would shortly 
be expelled from France. Possibly she may, as has been repre- 
sented, have declared that all which God had appointed her to do 
had been accomplished, and that she desired to return to her 
parents and herd their cattle as she had been accustomed of old. 
In view of what followed, this was the only way to uphold the 
theory of divine inspiration, and such a statement inevitably 
formed part of her legend, whether it was true or not. In her 
subsequent failures, as at Paris and La Charite, Joan naturally per- 
suaded herself that they had been undertaken against the counsel 
of her Yoices, but all the evidence goes to prove that at the time 
she was as confident of success as ever. Thus a letter written 
from Reims on the day of coronation, evidently by a well-informed 
person, states that the army was to start the next day for Paris, 
and that the Pucelle had no doubts as to her reducing it to obedi- 
ence. Nor did she really consider her mission as ended, for she 
had at the commencement proclaimed the liberation of; Charles of 
Orleans as one of her objects, and on her trial she explained that 
she proposed either to invade England to set him frae or to capt- 
ure enough prisoners to force an exchange : her Yoices had prom- 
ised it to her, and had she not been captured she would have ac- 
complished it in three years.f 

*Nider Formicar v. viii. — Rymer, X. 459, 472.— Gersoni Opp. Ed. 1488, liii. 
T-Z. — M. de FAverdy gives an abstract of other learned disputations on the sub- 
ject of Joan (ubi sup. III. 212-17). 

t Chronique, p. 447.— Buchon, p. 524.— Pez, Thesaur. Anecd. VI. in. 237.— 
Proces, p. 484.— L'Averdy, III. 338. 

The popular explanation of Joan's career connected her good-fortune with a 
sword marked with five crosses on the blade, which she had miraculously dis- 
covered in the church of St. Catharine de Fierbois, and which she thenceforth 
carried. On the march to Reims, finding her commands disregarded as to the 
exclusion of prostitutes from the army, she beat some loose women with the flat 
of the blade and broke it. No smith could weld the fragments together; she was 
obliged to wear another sword, and her unvarying success disappeared. — Jean 
Chartier, pp. 20, 29, 42. 
III.— 23 


Be this as it may. from this time the marvellous fortune which 
had attended her disappears ; alternations of success and defeat 
show that either the French had lost the first flush of confident 
enthusiasm, or that the English had recovered from their panic 
and were doggedly resolved to fight the powers of hell. Bedford 
managed to put a respectable force in the field, with the assistance 
of Cardinal Beaufort, who made over to him, it was said for a 
heavy bribe, four thousand crusaders whom he was leading from 
England to the Hussite wars. He barred the way to Paris, and 
three times the opposing armies, of nearly equal strength, lay face 
to face, but Bedford always skilfully chose a strong position 
which Charles dared not attack, showing that human prudence 
had replaced the reckless confidence of the march to Reims. AVe 
catch a glimpse of the intrigues of the factions surrounding 
Charles in the attempted retreat to the Loire, frustrated at Bray- 
sur-Seine, when the defeat of the courtiers who assailed the En£- 
lish guarding the passage of the river was hailed with delight by 
Joan, Bourbon, Alencon. and the party opposed to La Tremouille. 
Charles, perforce, remained in the Xorth. Towards the end of 
August, Bedford, fearing an inroad on Xormandy, marched thither, 
leaving the road to Paris open, and Charles advanced to St. Denis, 
which he occupied without resistance, August 25. On September 
7 an attempt was made to capture Paris by surprise, with the aid 
of friends within the walls, and this failing, on the 8th, the feast 
of the Xativity of the Virgin, an assault in force was made at the 
Porte St. Honore. The water in the inner moat, however, was 
too deep and the artillery on the walls too well served : after five 
or six hours of desperate fighting the assailants were disastrously 
repulsed with a loss of five hundred killed and one thousand 
wounded. As usual Joan had been at the front till she fell with 
an arrow through the leg, and her standard-bearer was slain by 
her side. Joan subsequently averred that she had had no counsel 
from her Voices to make this attempt, but had been over-per- 
suaded by the eager chivalry of the army ; but this is contradicted 
by contemporary evidence, and her letter to d' Armagnac promises 
him a reply when she shall have leisure in Paris, showing that she 
fully expected to capture the city.* 

* Chronique, pp. 446-50. — Jean Chartier, p. 33-36.— Gorres, p. 215. — Monstre- 


From this time her checkered career was rather of evil fortune 
than of good. If at St. Pierre-les-Moustiers the old enthusiasm 
made the forlorn hope imagine that it ascended the breach as 
easily as a broad stairway, the siege of La Charite, to which it 
was a preliminary, proved disastrous, and again Joan averred that 
she had undertaken this without orders from her Voices. It was 
freely said that La Tremouille had sent her on the enterprise with 
insufficient forces and had withheld the requisite succors. During 
the winter she was at Lagny, where occurred a little incident 
which was subsequently used to confirm the charge of sorcery. 
A child was born apparently dead ; the parents, dreading to have 
it buried without baptism, had it carried to the church, where it 
lay, to all appearance, lifeless for three days; the young girls of 
the town assembled in the church to pray for it, and Joan joined 
them. Suddenly the infant gave signs of life, gaped thrice, was 
hurriedly baptized, died, and was buried in consecrated ground, 
and Joan had the credit of working a miracle, to be turned sub- 
sequently to her disadvantage. Probably about the same time, 
there was trouble about a horse of the Bishop of Senlis, which 
Joan took for her own use. She found it worthless for her pur- 
poses and sent it back to him, and also caused him to be paid two 
hundred saluts d'or for it (the salut d'or was equivalent to twenty- 
two sols parisis), but on her trial the matter was gravely charged 
against her, showing how eagerly every incident in her career was 
scrutinized and utilized.* 

As the spring of 1430 opened, the Duke of Burgundy came to 
the assistance of his English allies by raising a large army for 
the recovery of Compiegne. The activity of Joan was unabated. 
During Easter week, about the middle of April, we hear of her in» 
the trenches at Melun, where her Voices announced to her that 
she would be a prisoner before St. John's day, but would give her 
no further particulars. Before the close of the month she at- 
tacked the advancing Burgundians at Pont-l'£veque, with her old 

let, II. 66-70.— Journal (Tun Bourgeois de Paris, an 1429.— Proces, pp. 486, 490.— 
MSinoires de Saiut-Remy, ch. 152. — Buchon, pp. 524, 539. 

* Gorres, pp. 292-5.— Jean Chartier, pp. 39-40.— Jean le Bouvier, p. 381. — 
Martial d'Auvergne, Vigiles de Charles VII.— Buchon, p. 544.— Proces, pp. 480, 
488, 400. 


comrade-in-arms Pothon de Xaintrailles, and was worsted. Then 
she had a desperate fight with a Burgundian partisan, Franquet 
d' Arras, whom she captured with all his troop ; he had been a 
notorious plunderer, the magistrates of Lagny claimed him for 
trial, and after an investigation which lasted for fifteen days 
they executed him as a robber and murderer, for which Joan was 
held responsible, his death being one of the most serious charges 
pressed against her. About May 1 Compiegne was invested. Its 
siege was evidently to be the decisive event of the campaign, 
and Joan hastened to the rescue. Before daylight on the morn- 
ing of the 5th she succeeded in entering the town with reinforce- 
ments. In the afternoon of the same day a sally was resolved 
upon, and Joan as usual led it, with Pothon and other captains by 
her side. She fell upon the camp of a renowned knight of the 
Golden Fleece named Bauldon de Xoyelle, who, though taken by 
surprise, made a gallant resistance. From the neighboring lines 
troops hastened to his assistance, and the tide of battle swayed 
back and forth. A force of a thousand Englishmen on their way 
to Paris had tarried to aid Philip of Burgundy, and these were 
brought up between the French and the town to take them in 
the rear. Joan fell back and endeavored to bring her men off in 
safety, but while covering the retreat she was unable to regain the 
fortifications, and was taken prisoner by the Batard de Vendome, 
a follower of Jean de Luxembourg, Comte de Ligny, second in 
command to the duke. There was naturally talk of treachery, 
but it would seem without foundation. Pothon was likewise 
captured, and it evidently was but the fortune of war.* 

Great was the joy in the Burgundian camp when the news 
spread that the dreaded Pucelle was a prisoner. English and 
Burgundians gave themselves up to rejoicing, for, as the Burgun- 
dian Monstrelet, who was present, informs us, they valued her 
capture more than five hundred fighting men, for there was no 
captain or chief of whom they were so afraid. They crowded 
around her quarters at Marigny, and even the Duke of Bur- 
gundy himself paid her a visit and exchanged some words with 
her. At once the question arose as to her possession. She was a 

* Proems, pp. 481, 482, 488.— Metnoires de Saint-Remy, ch. 158. — Monstrelet, 
n. 84-86.— Chronique, p. 456.— Jean Chartier, p. 42. 

JOAN OF ARC. .357 

prisoner of war, belonging to Jean de Luxembourg, and, in those 
days of ransoming, prisoners were valuable property. Under ex- 
isting customs, Henry VI., as chief of the alliance, had the right 
to claim the transfer of any captured commanding general or 
prince on paying the captor ten thousand livres — a sort of emi- 
nent domain, for in the wars of Edward III. Bertrand du Guesclin 
had been held at a ransom of one hundred thousand livres, the 
Constable de Clisson at the same, and in 1429 it had cost the Due 
d'Alencon two hundred thousand crowns to effect his liberation 
from the English. In the exhausted state of the English exchequer, 
however, even ten thousand livres was a sum not readily procur- 
able. It was a matter of absolute necessity to the English to have 
her, not only to prevent her ransom by the French, but to neu- 
tralize her sorceries by condemning and executing her under the 
jurisdiction of the Church. To accomplish this the Inquisition 
was the most available instrumentality : inside the English lines 
Joan was publicly reported to be a sorceress, and as such was 
judiciable by the Inquisition, which therefore had a right to claim 
her for trial. Accordingly, but a few days had elapsed after her 
capture when Martin Billon, Vicar of the Inquisitor of France, 
formally demanded her surrender, and the University of Paris 
addressed two letters to the Duke of Burgundy urging that she 
should be promptly tried and punished, lest his enemies should 
effect her deliverance. We have seen how by this time the im- 
portance of the Inquisition in France had shrunken, and Jean de 
Luxembourg was by no means disposed to surrender his valuable 
. prize without consideration. Then another device was adopted. 
Compiegne, where Joan was captured, was in the diocese of Beau- 
vais. Pierre Cauchon, the Count -bishop of Beauvais, though a 
Frenchman of the Remois, was a bitter English partisan, whose un- 
scrupulous cruelty at a later period excited the cordial detestation 
even of his own faction. He had been driven from his see the 
previous year by the returning loyalty of its people under the im- 
pulse given by Joan, and may be assumed to have looked upon her 
with no loving eye. He was told to claim her for trial under his 
episcopal jurisdiction, but even he shrank from the odious busi- 
ness, and refused unless it could be proved that it was his duty. 
Possibly the promise of the reversion of the bishopric of Lisieux, 
with which he was subsequently rewarded, may have assisted in 


convincing him, while the authority of the University of Paris 
was invoked to quiet his scruples. July 14, the University ad- 
dressed letters to Jean de Luxembourg reminding him that his 
oath of knighthood required him to defend the honor of God and 
the Catholic faith, and the holy Church. Through Joan, idol- 
atries, errors, false doctrines, and evils innumerable had spread 
through France, and the matter admitted of no delav. The In- 
quisition had earnestly demanded her for trial, and Jean was 
urgently begged to surrender her to the Bishop of Beauvais, who 
had likewise claimed her ; all inquisitor-prelates are judges of the 
faith, and all Christians of every degree are bound to obey them 
under the heavy penalties of the law. while obedience will acquire 
for him the divine grace and love, and will aid in the exaltation 
of the faith. When furnished with this, Pierre Cauchon lost no 
time. He left Paris at once with a notary and a representative 
of the University, and on the 16th presented it to the Duke of Bur- 
gundy in the camp before Compiegne, together with a summons 
of his own addressed to the Duke, Jean de Luxembourg, and the 
Batard de Yendome, demanding the surrender of Joan for trial 
before him on charges of sorcery, idolatry, invocation of the devil, 
and other matters involving the faith — trial which he is ready to 
hold, with the assistance of the inquisitor and of doctors of theo- 
logy, for the exaltation of the faith and the edification of those 
who have been misled by her. He further offered a ransom of 
six thousand livres and a pension to the Batard de Yendome of 
two or three hundred livres, and if this was not enough- the sum 
would be increased to ten thousand livres, although Joan was not 
so great a person as the king would have a right to claim on giv- 
ing that amount ; if required, security would be furnished for the 
payment. These letters the duke transferred to Jean de Luxem- 
bourg, who after some discussion agreed to sell her for the stipu- 
lated sum. He would not trust his allies, however, even with 
security, and refused to deliver his prisoner until the money was 
paid. Bedford was obliged to convene the states of Xormandy 
and levy a special tax to raise it, and it was not till October 20 
that Jean received his price and transferred his captive.* 

* Monstrelet, II. 86. — Jean Chartier, p. 25. — Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris, 
an 1435.— LWverdy (ubi sup. III. 8). — Chronique et Proces, pp. 462-4. 


During all this long delay Charles, to his eternal dishonor, 
made no effort to save the woman to whom he owed his crown. 
While her prolonged trial was under way he did not even appeal 
to Eugenius IV. or to the Council of Basle to evoke the case to their 
tribunal, an appeal which would hardly have been rejected in a 
matter of so much interest. It is true that her recent labors had 
not been so brilliantly successful as those of the earlier period : 
he may have recognized that after all she was but human ; or he 
may have satisfied his conscience with the reflection that if she 
were an envoy of God, God might be trusted to extricate her. 
Besides, the party of peace in his court, headed by La Tremouille, 
the favorite, had no desire to see the heroine at large again, and 
the weak and self-indulgent monarch abandoned her to her fate 
as, twenty years later, he abandoned Jacques Cceur. 

Meanwhile Joan had been carried, strictly guarded to prevent 
her escape by magic arts, from Marigny to the Castle of Beaulieu, 
and thence to the Castle of Beaurevoir. In the latter prison she 
excited the interest of the Dame de Beaurevoir, and of the De- 
moiselle de Luxembourg, aunt of Jean. The latter earnestly re- 
monstrated w r ith her nephew when she learned that he was treat- 
ing with the English, and both ladies endeavored to persuade Joan 
to adopt female habiliments. They must have impressed her with 
their kindness, for she subsequently declared that she would have 
made the change for them rather than for any other ladies in 
France. Her restless energy chafed at the long captivity, and 
twice she made attempts to escape. Once she succeeded in shut- 
ting her guards up in her cell, and would have got off but that 
her jailer saw her and secured her. Again, when she heard that 
she was to be surrendered to the English, she despairingly threw 
herself from her lofty tower into the ditch, careless whether it 
would kill her or not. Her Voices had forbidden the attempt, but 
she said that she had rather die than fall into English hands — and 
this was subsequently charged against her as an attempted suicide 
and a crime. She was picked up for dead, but she was reserved 
for a harsher fate and speedily recovered. She might well regret 
the recovery when she was carried to Kouen, loaded with chains 
and confined in a narrow cell where brutal guards watched her 
day and night. It is even said that an iron cage was made, into 
which she was thrust with fetters on wrist, waist, and ankles. She 


had been delivered to the Church, not to the secular authorities ; 
she was entitled to be kept in an ecclesiastical prison, but the Eng- 
lish had paid for her and would listen to no reclamations. War- 
wick had charge of her and would trust her to no one.* 

Pierre Cauchon still was in no haste to commence the iniqui- 
tous work which he had undertaken. After a month had passed, 
Paris grew excited at the delay. The city, so ardently Anglicized, 
had a special grudge against Joan, not only on account of believ- 
ing that she had promised her soldiers on the day of assault to al- 
low them to sack the city and put the inhabitants to the sword, 
but because they were exposed to the greatest privations by the 
virtual blockade resulting from the extension of the royal domina- 
tion caused by her successes. This feeling found expression in the 
University, which from the first pursued her with unrelenting fe- 
rocity. Xot content with having intervened to procure her sur- 
render to the English, it addressed letters, November 21, to Pierre 
Cauchon, reproaching him with his tardiness in commencing the 
process, and to the King of England, asking that the trial be held 
in Paris, where there are so many learned and excellent doctors. 
Still Cauchon hesitated. Doubtless when he came to consider the 
evidence on which he would have to act he recognized, as irre- 
sponsible partisans could not, how flimsy it was, and he was busy 
in obtaining information as to all the points in her career — for the 
interrogatories showed a marvellous familiarity with everything 
that could possibly be wrested against her. Besides, there were 
indispensable preliminaries to be observed. His jurisdiction arose 
from her capture in his diocese, but he was an exile from it, and 
was expected to try her not only in another diocese, but in an- 
other province. The archbishopric of Rouen was vacant, and he 
adopted the expedient of requesting of the chapter permission to 
hold an ecclesiastical court within their jurisdiction. The request 
was granted, and he selected an assembly of experts to sit with 
him as assessors. A number came willingly from the University, 
whose expenses were paid by the English government, but it was 
more difficult to find accomplices among the local prelates and 
doctors. In one of the early sessions, Nicholas de Houppeland 

* Monstrelet, II. 86.— Chronique, p. 462.— Proces, pp. 478, 480-1, 486, 487,488, 
489. — Le Bran de Charmettes, Histoire de Jeanne d'Arc, III. 183-3. 


plainly told Cauchon that neither he nor the rest, belonging to 
the party hostile to Joan, could sit as judges, especially as she had 
already been examined by the Archbishop of Keims, who was the 
metropolitan of Beauvais. For this Nicholas was imprisoned in 
the Castle of Kouen, and was threatened with banishment to Eng- 
land and with drowning, but his friends eventually procured his 
liberation. Undoubtedly every man who sat on the tribunal had 
the conviction that any leaning to the accused would expose him 
to English vengeance, and it was found necessary to impose a 
fine on any one who should absent himself from a single session. 
Eventually a respectable body of fifty or sixty theologians and 
jurists was got together, including such men as the Abbots of 
Fecamp, Jumieges, Ste. Catharine, Cormeilles, and Preaux, the 
Prior of Longueville, the archdeacon and treasurer of Eouen, and 
other men of recognized position. On January 3, 1431, royal let- 
ters-patent were issued ordering Joan to be delivered to Pierre 
Cauchon whenever she was wanted for examination, and all offi- 
cials to aid him when called upon. As though she were already 
convicted, the letters recited the heresies and evil deeds of the 
culprit, and significantly concluded with a clause that if she was 
acquitted she was not to be liberated, but to be returned to the 
custody of the king. Yet it was not until the 9th that Cauchon 
assembled his experts, at that time eight in number, and laid be- 
fore them what had been already done. They decided that the 
informations were insufficient and that a further inquest was nec- 
essary, and they also protested ineffectually against Joan's deten- 
tion in a state prison. Measures were at once taken to make the 
investigations required. Nicholas Bailly was despatched to ob- 
tain the details of Joan's childhood, and as he brought back only 
favorable details Cauchon suppressed his report and refused to re- 
imburse his expenses. The inquisitorial method of making the 
accused betray herself was adopted. One of the assessors, Nicho- 
las l'Oyseleur, disguised himself as a layman and was introduced 
into her cell, pretending to be a Lorrainer imprisoned for his loy- 
alty. He gained her confidence, and she grew into the habit of 
talking to him without reserve. Then Warwick and Cauchon 
with two notaries ensconced themselves in an adjoining cell of 
which the partition wall had been pierced, while l'Oyseleur led 
her on to talk about her visions ; but the scheme failed, for one of 


the notaries, unfamiliar with inquisitorial practice, pronounced the 
whole proceeding to be unlawful, and courageously refused to act. 
Then Jean Estivet, the prosecutor and canon of Beauvais, tried the 
same expedient, but without success.* 

It was not until February 19 that the articles of accusation 
were ready for submission to the assessors, and then a new diffi- 
culty arose. Thus far the tribunal had contained no representa- 
tive of the Inquisition, and this was recognized as a fatal defect. 
Frere Jean Graveran was Inquisitor of France, and had appointed 
Frere Jean le Maitre, in 1421, as his vicar or deputy for Eouen. 
Le Maitre seems to have had no stomach for the work, and to 
have kept aloof, but he was not to be let off, and at the meeting 
of February 19 it was resolved to summon him, in the presence 
of two notaries, to take part in the proceedings and to hear read 
the accusation and the depositions of witnesses. Threats are said 
to have been freely employed, and his repugnance was overcome. 
Another session was held in the afternoon, at which he appeared, 
and on being summoned to act professed himself willing to do so, 
if the commission which he held was sufficient authorization. The 
scruple which he alleged was ingenious. He was Inquisitor of 
Rouen, but Cauchon was bishop in a different province, and. as he 
was exercising jurisdiction belonging to Beauvais in the " bor- 
rowed territory." le Maitre doubted his powers to take part in it. 
It was not till the 22d that his doubts were overcome, and, while 
awaiting enlarged powers from Graveran, he consented to assist, 
for the discharge of his conscience and to prevent the whole pro- 
ceedings from being null and void, which bv common consent 
seems to have been assumed would be the case if carried on 
without the participation of the Inquisition. It was not until 

* Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris, an 1429. — Le Brun de Charmettes, III. 
201-7. 210-12. 215. 224-6.— Proces. pp. 465-7, 477,— L'Averdy, pp. 391, 475, 499. 

At least one of the assessors, Thomas de Courcelles, was a man of the highest 
character and of distinguished learning. Immediately after the trial of Joan he 
played a distinguished part at the Council of Basle, in opposing the claims of 
the papacy. iEneas Sylvius says of him, " Inter sacrarum literarum doctores in- 
signis. quo nemo plura ex decretis sacri concilii dictavit. vir juxta doctrinam 
mirabilis et amabilis, sed modesta quadam verocundia semper intuens terrain" 
(JEn. Sylv. Comment, de Gestis Concil. Basil. Lib. i. p. 7, Ed. 1571). — He died in 
1469 as Dean of Notre Dame (Le Brun, III. 235). 


March 12 that he received a special commission from Graveran, 
who declined to come personally, after which he presided in con- 
junction with Cauchon ; sentence was rendered in their joint names, 
and he was duly paid by the English for his services.* 

At length, on February 21, Jean Estivet, the prosecutor, de- 
manded that the prisoner be produced and examined. Before she 
was introduced Cauchon explained that she had earnestly begged 
the privilege of hearing mass, but, in view of the crimes whereof 
she was accused and her wearing male attire, he had refused. 
This prejudgment of the case was acquiesced in, and Joan was 
brought in with fetters on her legs. Of this cruelty she com- 
plained bitterly. Even the Templars, as we have seen, had their 
irons removed before examination, but Joan was only nominally 
in the hands of the court, and Cauchon accepted the responsibility 
for the outrage by telling her that it was because she had repeat- 
edly tried to escape, to which she replied that she had a right to 
do so, as she had never given her parole. Then Cauchon called up 
the English guard who accompanied her and went through the 
farce of swearing them to watch her strictly — apparently for the 
futile purpose of asserting some control over them.f 

It would be superfluous to follow in detail the examinations to 
which she was subjected during the next three months, with an 
intermission from April 18 to May 11 on account of sickness which 
nearly proved mortal. The untaught peasant girl, enfeebled by 
the miseries of her cruel prison, and subjected day after day to the 
shrewd and searching cross-questions of the trained and subtle in- 
tellects of her carefully selected judges, never lost her presence of 
mind or clearness of intellect. Ingenious pitfalls were constructed 
for her, which she evaded almost by instinct. Questions puzzling to 
a theologian of the schools were showered upon her ; half a dozen 
eager disputants would assail her at once and would interrupt her 
replies ; the disorder at times was so great that the notaries finally 
declared themselves unable to make an intelligent record. Her 
responses would be carefully scrutinized, and she would be recalled 
in the afternoon, the same ground would be gone over in a differ- 

* Ripoll III. 8,— Procfes, pp. 467-8, 470, 509.— Le Brun de Charmettes, III. 183, 
192, 219, 407-8.— L'Averdy, p. 391. 
t Proems, pp. 468-9. 


ent manner, and her pursuers would again be foiled. In the whole 
series of interrogatories she manifested a marvellous combination 
of frank simplicity, shrewdness, presence of mind, and firmness 
that would do honor to a veteran diplomat. She utterly refused 
to take an unconditional oath to answer the questions put to her, 
saying, frankly, "I do not know what you will ask me ; perhaps 
it may be about things which I will not tell you : " she agreed to 
reply to all questions about her faith and matters bearing upon 
her trial, but to nothing else. When Cauchon's eagerness over- 
stepped the limit she would turn on him and warn him, " You call 
yourself my judge : I know not if you are, but take care not to 
judge wrongfully, for you expose yourself to great danger, and I 
warn you, so that if our Lord chastises you I shall have done my 
duty." When asked whether St. Michael was naked when he 
visited her, she retorted, " Do you think the Lord has not where- 
with to clothe his angels ?" When describing a conversation with 
St. Catharine about the result of the siege of Compiegne, some 
chance expression led her examiner to imagine that he could en- 
trap her, and he interrupted with the question whether she had 
said, " Will God so wickedly let the good folks of Compiegne 
perish ?" but she composedly corrected him by repeating, " What ! 
will God let these good folks of Compiegne perish, who have been 
and are so loyal to their lord '?" She could hardly have known 
that an attempt to escape from an ecclesiastical court was a sin of 
the deepest dye, and yet when tested with the cunning question 
whether she would now escape if opportunity offered, she replied 
that if the door was opened she would walk out ; she would try it 
only to see if the Lord so willed it. When an insidious offer was 
made to her to have a great procession to entreat God to bring her 
to the proper frame of mind, she quietly replied that she wished 
all good Catholics would pray for her. When threatened with 
torture, and told that the executioner was at hand to administer 
it, she simply said, " If you extort avowals from me by pain I will 
maintain that they are the result of violence." Thus alternating 
the horrors of her dungeon with the clamors of the examination- 
room, where perhaps a dozen eager questioners would bait her at 
once, she never faltered through all those weary weeks. * 

* Procfcs, pp. 468, 472, 473, 476, 486, 487, 489, 501.— L'Averdy, pp. 107, 395. 


In this she was sustained by the state of habitual spiritual ex- 
altation resulting from the daily and nightly visions with which 
she was favored, and the unalterable conviction that she was the 
chosen of the Lord, under whose inspiration she acted and whose 
will she was prepared to endure with resignation. In her prison 
her ecstatic raptures seem to have become more frequent than 
ever. Her heavenly visitants came at her call, and solved her 
difficulties. Frequently she refused to answer questions until she 
could consult her Voices and learn whether she was permitted to 
reveal what was wanted, and then, at a subsequent hearing, she 
would say that she had received permission. The responses evi- 
dently sometimes varied with her moods. She would be told that 
she would be delivered with triumph, and then again be urged not 
to mind her martyrdom, for she would reach paradise. When she 
reported this she was cunningly asked if she felt assured of salva- 
tion, and on her saying that she was as certain of heaven as if she 
was already there, she was led on with a question whether she 
held that she could not commit mortal sin. Instinctively she drew 
back from the dangerous ground — " I know nothing about it ; I 
depend on the Lord." * 

Finally, on one important point her judges succeeded in en- 
trapping her. She was warned that if she had done anything con- 
trary to the faith she must submit herself to the determination of 
the Church. To her the Church was represented by Cauchon and 
his tribunal ; to submit to them would be to pronounce her whole 
life a lie, her intercourse with saints and angels an invocation of 
demons, herself a sorceress worthy of the stake, and only to escape 
it through the infinite mercy of her persecutors. She offered to 
submit to God and the saints, but this, she was told, was the 
Church triumphant in heaven, and she must submit to the Church 
militant on earth, else she was a heretic, to be inevitably abandoned 
to the secular arm for burning. Taking advantage of her igno- 
rance, the matter was pressed upon her in the most absolute form. 
When asked if she would submit to the pope she could only say, 
" Take me to him and I will answer to him." At last she was 
brought to admit that she would submit to the Church, provided 
it did not command what was impossible ; but, when asked to de- 

* Procfes, p. 487. 


fine the impossible, it was to abandon doing what the Lord had 
commanded, and to revoke what she had asserted as to the truth 
of her visions. This she would submit only to God.* 

The examinations up to March 27 had been merely preparatory. 
On that day the formal trial commenced by reading to Joan a long 
series of articles of accusation based upon the information obtained. 
A lively debate ensued among the experts, but at last it was de- 
cided that she must answer them seriatim and on the spot, which 
she did with her wonted clearness and intrepidity, declining the 
offer of counsel, which Cauchon proposed to select for her. Sun- 
dry further interrogatories followed ; then her sickness delayed the 
proceedings, and on May 12, twelve members of the tribunal assem- 
bled in Pierre Cauchon's house to determine whether she should be 
subjected to torture. Fortunately for the reputation of her judges 
this infamy was spared her. One of them voted in favor of tort- 
ure to see whether she could be forced to submit to the Church ; 
another, the spy, Nicholas TOyseleur, humanely urged it as a use- 
ful medicine for her; nine were of opinion either that it was 
not yet required, or that the case was clear enough without it ; 
Cauchon himself apparently did not vote. Meanwhile a secret 

* Proces, pp. 489, 491, 494, 495, 499, 500, 501. 

When, in 1456, the memory of Joan was rehabilitated, and the sentence con- 
demning her was pronounced null and void, it was of course necessary to show 
that she had not refused to submit to the Church. Evidence was furnished to 
prove that Nicholas l'Oyseleur, in whom she continued to have confidence, se- 
cretly advised her that she was lost if she submitted herself to the Church ; but 
that Jean de la Fontaine, another of the assessors, visited her in prison with two 
Dominicans, Isambard de la Pierre and Martin l'Advenu, and explained to her 
that at the Council of Basle, then sitting, there were as many of her friends as 
of enemies, and at the next hearing, on March 30, Frere Isambard de la Pierre 
openly repeated the suggestion, in consequence of which she offered to submit to 
it, and also demanded to be taken to the pope, all of which Cauchon forbade to 
be inserted in the record, and but for the active intervention of Jean le Maitre, 
the inquisitor, all three would have incurred grave peril of death (I/Averdy, pp. 
476-7.— Le Brun de Charmettes, IV. 8-13.— Buchon, pp. 518-19). The rehabili- 
tation proceedings are quite as suspect as those of the trial; every one then was 
anxious to make a record for himself and to prove that Joan had been foully dealt 
with. As late as the nineteenth interrogatory, on March 27, 1431, Jean de la Fon- 
taine was one of those who voted in favor of the most rigorous dealings with 
Joan (Proces, p. 495). 


junto, selected by Cauchon, had reduced the articles of accusation 
to twelve, which, though grossly at variance with the truth, were 
assumed to have been fully proved or confessed, and these formed 
the basis of the subsequent deliberations and sentence. We have 
seen, in the case of Marguerite la Porete, that the Inquisition of 
Paris, in place of calling an assembly of experts, submitted to the 
canonists of the University a written statement of what Avas as- 
sumed to be proved, and that the opinion rendered on this, al- 
though conditioned on its being a true presentation of the case, 
was equivalent to a verdict. This precedent was followed in the 
present case. Copies of the articles were addressed to fifty-eight 
learned experts, in addition to the Chapter of Rouen and the Uni- 
versity of Paris, and their opinions were requested by a certain 
day. Of all those appealed to, the University was by far the most 
important, and a special mission was despatched to it bearing let- 
ters from the royal council and the Bishop of Beauvais. In view 
of the tendencies of the University this might seem a superfluous 
precaution, and its adoption shows how slender was the foundation 
on which the whole prosecution was based. The University went 
through an elaborate form of deliberation, and caused the faculties 
of theology and law to draw up its decision, which was adopted 
May 14 and sent to Rouen.* 

On May 19 the assessors were assembled to hear the report from 
the University, after which their opinions were taken , Some were in 
favor of immediate abandonment to the secular arm, which would 
have been strictly in accordance with the regular inquisitorial pro- 
ceedings, but probably the violent assumption that the articles 
represented truthfully Joan's admissions was too much for some 
of the assessors, and the milder suggestion prevailed that Joan 
should have another hearing, in which the articles should be read 
to her, with the decision of the University, and that the verdict 
should depend upon what she should then say. Accordingly, on 
May 23, she was again brought before the tribunal for the pur- 
pose. A brief abstract of the document read to her will show, 
from the triviality of many of the charges and the guilt ascribed 
to them, how conviction was predetermined. The University, as 

* Proems, pp. 496-8, 502.— L'Averdy, pp. 33, 50.— Le Brun de Charmettes, IV. 
62-3, 94-5. 


usual, had guarded itself by conditioning its decision on the basis 
of the articles being fully proved, but no notice was taken of this, 
and Joan was addressed as though she had confessed to the arti- 
cles and had been solemnly condemned. 

I. The visions of angels and saints. — These are pronounced 
superstitious and proceeding from evil and diabolical spirits. 

II. The sign given to Charles of the crown brought to him by 
St. Michael. — After noting her contradictions, the story is declared 
a lie, and a presumptuous, seductory, and pernicious thing, deroga- 
tory to the dignity of the angelic Church. 

III. Eecognizing saints and angels by their teaching and the 
comfort they bring, and believing in them as firmly as in the faith 
of Christ. — Her reasons have been insufficient, and her belief 
rash; comparing faith in them to faith in Christ is an error of 

IY. Predictions of future events and recognition of persons not 
seen before through the Voices. — This is superstition and divina- 
tion, presumptuous assertion, and vain boasting. 

V. Wearing men's clothes and short hair, taking the sacrament 
while in them, and asserting that it is by command of God. — This 
is blaspheming God, despising his sacraments, transgressing the 
divine law, holy writ, and canonical ordinances, wherefore, " thou 
savorest ill in the faith, thou boast est vainly and art suspect of 
idolatry, and thou condemnest thyself in not being willing to wear 
thy sex's garments and in following the customs of the heathen 
and Saracen." 

YI. Putting Jesus, Maria, and the sign of the cross on her let- 
ters, and threatening that if they were not obeyed that she would 
show in battle who had the best right. — " Thou art murderous and 
cruel, seeking effusion of human blood, seditious, provoking to tyr- 
anny, and blaspheming God, his commandments and revelations.'" 

VII. Kendering her father and mother almost crazy by leaving 
them ; also promising Charles to restore his kingdom, and all by 
command of God. — " Thou hast been wicked to thy parents, trans- 
gressing the commandment of God to honor them. Thou hast 
been scandalous, blaspheming God, erring in the faith, and hast 
made a rash and presumptuous promise to thy king." 

VIII. Leaping from the tower of Beaurevoir into the ditch and 
preferring death to falling into the hands of the English, after the 

JOAN OF ARC. 3(59 

Voices had forbidden it.— This was pusillanimity, tending to des- 
peration and suicide; and in saying that God had forgiven it, 
" thou savorest ill as to human free-will." 

IX. Saying that St. Catharine and St. Margaret had promised 
her paradise if she preserved her virginity, feeling assured of it, 
and asserting that if she were in mortal sin they would not visit 
her. — " Thou savorest ill as to the Christian faith." 

X. Saying that St. Catharine and St. Margaret spoke French 
and not English because they were not of the English faction, and 
that, after knowing that these Voices were for Charles, she had not 
loved the Burgundians. — This is a rash blasphemy against those 
saints and a transgression of the divine command to love thy 

XI. Reverencing the celestial visitants and believing them to 
come from God without consulting any churchman ; feeling as cer- 
tain of it as of Christ and the Passion ; and refusing to reveal the 
sign made to Charles without the command of God. — " Thou art 
an idolater, an invoker of devils, erring in the faith, and hast rash- 
ly made an illicit oath." 

XII. Refusing to obey the mandate of the Church if contrary 
to the pretended command of God, and rejecting the judgment of 
the Church on earth. — " Thou art schismatic, believing wrongly as 
to the truth and authority of the Church, and up to the present 
time thou errest perniciously in the faith of God." * 

Maitre Pierre Maurice, who read to her this extraordinary doc- 
ument, proceeded to address her with an odious assumption of 
kindness as " Jehanne ma chere amie" urging her earnestly and 
argumentatively to submit herself to the judgment of the Church, 
without which her soul was sure of damnation, and he had shrewd 
fears for her body. She answered firmly that if the fire was 
lighted and the executioner ready to cast her in the flames she 
would not vary from what she had already said. Nothing re- 
mained but to cite her for the next day to receive her final sen- 
tence^ . . 

* Proces, pp. 503-5.— L'Averdy, pp. 56-97. 

t Le Brun de Charmettes, IV. 102-4, 106.— Proces, p. 506. 

In considering the verdict of the University and the Inquisition it must be 
borne in mind that visions of the Saviour, the Virgin, and the Saints were almost 
every-day occurrences, and were recognized and respected by the Church. The 
III.— 24 


On the 21th preparations for an auto defe were completed in 
the cemetery of St. Ouen. The pile was ready for lighting, and 
on two scaffolds were assembled the Cardinal of Beaufort and 
other dignitaries, while on a third were Pierre Cauchon, Jean le 
Maitre, Joan, and Maitre Guillaume Erard, who preached the cus- 
tomary sermon. In his eloquence he exclaimed that Charles VII. 
had been proved a schismatic heretic, when Joan interrupted him, 
" Speak of me, but not of the king ; he is a good Christian !" She 
maintained her courage until the sentence of relaxation was part- 
ly read, when she yielded to the incessant persuasion mingled with 
threats and promises to which she had been exposed since the 
previous night, and she signified her readiness to submit. A 
formula of abjuration was read to her, and after some discussion 
she allowed her hand to be guided in scratching the sign of the 
cross, which represented her signature. Then another sentence, 
prepared in advance, was pronounced, imposing on her, as a mat- 
ter of course, the customary penance of perpetual imprisonment 
on bread and water. Vainly she bested for an ecclesiastical 
prison. Had Cauchon wished it he was powerless, and he ordered 
the guards to conduct her back whence she came.* 

The English were naturally furious on finding that they had 
overreached themselves. They could have tried Joan summarily 
in a secular court for sorcerv and burned her out of hand, but to 

spiritual excitability of the Middle Ages brought the supernatural world into 
close relations with the material. For a choice collection of such stories see the 
Dialogues of Caesarius of Heisterbach. As a technical point of ecclesiastical law, 
moreover, Joan's visions had already been examiued and approved by the prel- 
ates and doctors at Chinon and Poitiers, including Pierre Cauchon's metropolitan, 
Renaud, Archbishop of Reims. 

* Proces, pp. 508-9. — Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris, an 1431. — Le Brun 
de Charmettes, IV. 110-41. 

There are two forms of abjuration recorded as subscribed by Joan; one brief 
and simple, the other elaborate (Proces, p. 508; Le Brun de Charmettes, IV. 
135-7). Cauchon has been accused of duplicity in reading to her the shorter 
one and substituting the other for her signature. She subsequently complained 
that she had never promised to abandon her male attire — a promise which 
was contained in the longer but not in the shorter one. Much has been made 
of this, but without reason. The short abjuration is an unconditional admission 
of her errors, a revocation and submission to the Church, and was as binding 
and effective as the other. 


obtain possession of her they had been obliged to call in the eccle- 
siastical authorities and the Inquisition, and they were too lit- 
tle familiar with trials for heresy to recognize that inquisitorial 
proceedings were based on the assumption of seeking the salvation 
of the soul and not the destruction of the body. When they saw 
how the affair was going a great commotion arose at what they 
inevitably regarded as a mockery. Joan's death was a political 
necessity, and their victim was eluding them though in their grasp. 
In spite of the servility which the ecclesiastics had shown, they 
were threatened with drawn swords and were glad to leave the 
cemetery of St. Ouen in safety.* 

In the afternoon Jean le Maitre and some of the assessors vis- 
ited her in her cell, representing the mercy of the Church and the 
gratitude with which she should receive her sentence, and warning 
her to abandon her revelations and follies, for if she relapsed she 
could have no hope. She was humbled, and when urged to wear 
female apparel she assented. It was brought and she put it on ; 
her male garments were placed in a bag and left in her cell.f 

What followed will never be accurately known. The reports 
are untrustworthy and contradictory — mere surmises, doubtless — 
and the secret lies buried in the dungeon of Eouen Castle. The 
brutal guards, enraged at her escape from the flames, no doubt 
abused her shamefully ; perhaps, as reported, they beat her, 
dragged her by the hair, and offered violence to her, till at last 
she felt that her man's dress was her only safety. Perhaps, as 
other stories go, her Voices reproached her for her weakness, and 
she deliberately resumed it. Perhaps, also, Warwick, resolved to 
make her commit an act of relapse, had her female garments re- 
moved at night, so that she had no choice but to resume her male 
apparel. The fact that it was left within her reach and not con- 
veyed away shows at least that there was a desire to tempt her to 
resume it. Be this as it may, after wearing her woman's dress 
for two or three days word was brought to her judges that she 
had relapsed and abandoned it. On May 28 they hastened to her 
prison to verify the fact. The incoherence of her replies to their 
examination shows how she was breaking down under the fearful 

* Le Brun de Charmettes. IV. 141. 

t Proces, pp. 508-9.— Le Brim de Charmettes, IV. 147. 


stress to which she had been subjected. First she merely said 
that she had taken the dress ; then that it was more suitable since 
she was to be with men ; nobody had compelled her, but she 
denied that she had sworn not to resume it. Then she said that 
she had taken it because faith had not been kept with her — she 
had been promised that she should hear mass and receive the 
sacrament, and be released from her chains ; she would rather die 
than be kept in fetters — could she hear mass and be relieved of 
her irons she would do all that the Church required. She had 
heard the Voices since her abjuration, and had been told that she 
had incurred damnation by revoking to save her life, for she had 
only revoked through dread of the fire. The Voices are of St. 
Catharine and St. Margaret, and come from God : she had never 
revoked that, or, if she had, it was contrary to truth. She had 
rather die than endure the torture of her captivity, but if her 
judges wish she will resume the woman's dress ; as for the rest 
she knows nothing more.* 

These rambling contradictions, these hopeless ejaculations of 
remorse and despair, so different from her former intrepid self- 
confidence, show that the jailers had understood their work, and 
that body and soul had endured more than they could bear. It 
was enough for the judges ; she was a self-confessed relapsed, with 
whom the Church could have nothing more to do except to de- 
clare her abandoned to the secular arm without further hearing. 
Accordingly, the next day, May 29, Cauchon assembled such of 
his assessors as were at hand, reported to them how she had re- 
lapsed by resuming male apparel and declaring, through the sug- 
gestion of the devil, that her Voices had returned. There could 
be no question as to her deserts. She was a relapsed, and the 
only discussion was on the purely formal question, whether her 
abjuration should be read over to her before her judges abandoned 
her to the secular arm. A majority of the assessors were in favor 
of this, but Cauchon and le Maitre disregarded the recommen- 
dation, f 

At dawn on the following day, May 30, Frere Martin l'Advenu 
and some other ecclesiastics were sent to her prison to inform her 

* Proems, p. 508.— Le Brun de Charmettes, IV 166-70.— L'Averdy, p. 506. 
tProces, p. 509.— Le Brun de Charmettes, IV 175-8. 


of her burning that morning. She was overcome with terror, 
threw herself on the ground, tore her hair and uttered piercing 
shrieks, declaring, as she grew calmer, that it would not have hap- 
pened had she been placed m an ecclesiastical prison, which was 
an admission that only the brutality of her dungeon had led her 
to revoke her abjuration. She confessed to PAdvenu and asked 
for the sacrament. He was puzzled and sent for instructions to 
Cauchon, who gave permission, and it was brought to her with all 
due solemnity. It has been mistakenly argued that this was an 
admission of her innocence, but the sacrament was never to be 
denied to a relapsed who asked for it at the last moment, the 
mere asking, preceded by confession, being an evidence of contri-